The New York Public Library has acquired a massive collection of unreleased material from experimental legend Arthur Russell, The New York Times reports. The archive was acquired with the help of Tom Lee, Russell's partner. It spans "166 linear feet," and should provide major new insights into Russell's process.
It includes a thousand-or-so reels, cassettes, DATs, Beta and VHS tapes with hundreds of hours of unreleased and probably unreleasable material, representing how Russell made his work — laying down individual tracks, or practicing, or jamming — often in long sessions, and with musicians who may have had little idea what they were working on at the time.
Once the archive has been adequately organized, the Times reports, you'll be able to browse through the collection in person. "After the paper material is assessed and cataloged with the proper metadata some months from now, anyone interested will be able to come to the library’s division of music and recorded sound to look through it."
The library's curator Jonathan Hiam says that once the audio recordings have been digitized — a process that could take up to a year — they will be made available for online listening.