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Peter Zummo & Arthur Russell Reissued
The Quietus , May 8th, 2012 07:55

The marvelous Zummo With An X to be reissued by Optimo Music

Optimo Music have announced that they are to reissue American composer Peter Zummo's Zummo With An X album, recorded with Arthur Russell. Set for release on 12th June, it will be the first time the album is available on vinyl since its initial run of 500, released in 1985 - for the reissue it's been remastered, and will be put out on 180g vinyl.

A key member of New York's DownTown Ensemble, Zummo is a multi-instrumentalist who, among other things, plays trombone, synth, euphonium and sings. He was a frequent collaborator with the late, great Russell, who plays cello throughout Zummo With An X. The first side consists of seven interconnected movements that combine to make up Lateral Pass, each one named after a musical interval. There are shades of earlier generations of New York minimalist composers in their repeated blocks of melody, with Zummo's trombone softly interlocking with struck, woody melodies. The entire B-side is taken up by the 20 minute 'Song IV', the album's highlight and a marvelous, slowly unspooling forest of cello, brass and tabla-esque percussion. Listen to a segment of 'Song IV' below.

Says JD Twitch of Optimo: "I first discovered Peter Zummo when I first discovered Arthur Russell. I kept hearing that trombone sound throughout Arthur's music and through scanning through various label credits made the connection that this Peter Zummo character was a constant collaborator with Arthur. Zummo's trombone sound is one of those things that if I am feeling anxious or pissed off will instantly soothe me and make everything feel alright.

"So, as well as wanting to hear everything Arthur had touched, I now also wanted to hear everything Mr. Zummo had created too. It's worth bearing in mind that at this point, in the mid to late 90s, there was almost zero information online about Arthur or his music or his collaborators. The upside of this was that all his records weren't too hard to track down and weren't going for crazy money. I randomly found Zummo With An X in New York around 1999 and wasn't sure what to expect. I instantly liked the first side, 'Lateral Pass' but side 2's 'Song IV' took my breath away and remains to this day one of my most listened to records. Despite the minimal elements, I hear more in it every time I listen to it, and sometimes the perfect interaction between cello, trombone and percussion sounds like the voice of Arthur being beamed in from the aether. It is 20 minutes of sheer bliss that feels as if it could go on for twice as long.

"Unavailable on vinyl since 1985, it's a great honour to be making this record available again and I can't imagine anyone with even a passing interest in Peter Zummo or Arthur Russell's music failing to be beguiled by this.”