Listen to José González’s cover of Arthur Russell’s “This Is How We Walk On The Moon”
Though he’s not widely known, Arthur Russell — the avant-garde multi-instrumentalist who bridged classical, dance and experimental music in the 1970s and ’80s before succumbing to AIDS in 1992 — has been one of the most influential forces in popular music. A new compilation, “Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell” — the latest in the 24-year-old Red Hot + series <http://www.redhot.org/> dedicated to raising money to fight HIV/AIDS — is helping to voice that legacy by putting his compositions in the hands of artists like Robyn, José González, Devendra Banhart and Hot Chip.
José González is contributing with the opening track, the Swedish artist José González’s take on Russell’s classic “This Is How We Walk on the Moon.” “It was one of those songs that I’d heard but didn’t pay that much attention to before, but once I started listening with the cover in mind it really grew on me,” González says in the liner notes. “I began to hear the potential in the simplicity.”
González’s haunting voice is a perfect fit for Russell’s intimate, muted vocal style. The track finds the singer-songwriter brilliantly merging Russell’s interest in acoustic folk sounds, akimbo horns, personal lament and dance beats, all in one fell swoop. “Arthur’s music transforms from black and white to color, and so does José’s,” Reid says. “He captured the beauty and melancholy of the song in his own way.”
Have a listen on Youtube.