Rough Trade Records in partnership with Audika Records are excited to announce ‘Picture of Bunny Rabbit’ a new album of previously unreleased World Of Echo era material by Arthur Russell recorded in 1985/86.
‘Picture of Bunny Rabbit’ features nine previously unreleased performances from this era compiled from completed masters culled from two unique test pressings, including one, dated 9/15/85 by Arthur, provided by his mother and sister. A further four tracks were discovered in his tape archive. The track listing includes an exceptional and dramatic solo recording of “In The Light of a Miracle” and the enigmatic title instrumental “Picture of Bunny Rabbit”, written especially for a friends pet rabbit. The bulk of the material was recorded with engineer Eric Liljestrand at Battery Sound Studios, New York, which was located directly opposite the World Trade Center and at Arthur’s apartment studio in the East Village.
In 1986 Arthur Russell was diagnosed with HIV, that same year he released his career-defining masterpiece ‘World of Echo’, the first and only solo album issued during his lifetime. Arthur had found his voice and a fresh direction with a set of new, transformative material, unlike anything he or anyone else had previously released. His illness ensured that the artistic growth and sense of exploration encapsulated in ‘World of Echo’ would be tragically curtailed. Within six short years Arthur was gone.
Arthur’s final years were filled with a renewed commitment to creativity and unceasing live and recording work. He regularly performed the ‘World of Echo’ material and incorporated several of its compositions in collaborations with choreographers active in New York’s innovative dance community. Arthur worked closely with Diane Madden, Allison Salzinger, Stephanie Woodard and John Bernd, usually playing his cello and effects boxes off stage as the choreographers’ pieces were performed. In 1993 Arthur posthumously received a prestigious Bessie Composer Award for his work in the dance world.
This release is the latest in a series in partnership with Audika Records, the exclusive label and home for the Arthur Russell archive and estate, who since 2004 have compiled and published the exceptionally varied, long sought-after music of Arthur Russell, and who in the process have helped the beloved, late artist find the broader audience he always believed he would reach. A new generation of listeners and critics has come to appreciate Russell as a visionary and an influence upon a broad range of today’s most compelling musical artists.