Via Coolgrove PressBuddhist Bubblegum dives deep into the mystery of composer, performer, and producer Arthur Russell and offers an unprecedented exploration into his lifelong Vajrayana Buddhist practice. Author Matt Marble charts Russell’s spiritual path, from his early life as a Buddhist monk on a Bay Area commune to his maturing engagement with Japanese Shingon and Indo-Tibetan Vajrayana traditions in Manhattan. Along the way, we learn how Russell creatively adopted traditional methods of mantra, mandala, meditation, astrology, numerology, and more. Through extensive archival research, personal interviews, and musical score analysis, Marble highlights Russell’s major works and shows how esotericism and aesthetic theory strategically guided his creative process. The writing is supplemented throughout with numerous archival images, featuring Russell’s original scores, notebooks, and photographs. Marble’s work is indebted to the Arthur Russell Estate/NYPL, Audika Records/Steve Knutson, Tom Lee, and Russell’s friends and collaborators, as well as to the pioneering work of biographers Tim Lawrence and Matt Wolf. Hailed by the New York Times as “groundbreaking work,” Buddhist Bubblegum reveals how one of America’s most visionary artists uniquely fused spiritual and musical disciplines. RELEASE DATE: 11/15/2021

Ben Ratliff, New York Times • May 27, 2016:

I wanna give it up one more time to Matt Marble, the scholar who I think has done some groundbreaking work. Because other than Tom Lee, Arthur Russell’s partner, and Steve Knutson, who’s been putting out all these issues of Arthur Russell records—I think Matt Marble is maybe the only person who has heard as much as there is to hear (or that he’s able to hear), and who’s gone through the archives so finely—like, he really knows the papers. And actually, talking to him, he brought up the concept of intuition. He said to me that in music—I’m gonna just quote from our conversation:  

"In music we don’t really talk about intuition, even though everybody knows its a core part of music. When we’re talking about intuition we tend to reduce it to jazz [by genre]—to improvisation [by method]. What Arthur Russell’s music shows is that he developed his own discipline of intuition."



"Elsewhere in the Everyday" ----------- >    by Matthew Singer, printed in Willamette Week, Vol. 43, Issue 29 • May 17, 2017 • Portland, Oregon

An interview with Matt Marble on Arthur Russell's archives and Buddhist influences

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More Buddhist Bubblegum: Reflections and News

Interview in Willamette Week


By Matthew Singer |  May 16 at 3:41 PM  

Twenty-five years after his death, people are still trying to figure out Arthur Russell. 

A prominent figure of New York's downtown art scene of the 1970s and…

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Pitchfork • The Buddhist Heart of Arthur Russell

Dr. "Ajari" Warwick, Arthur Russell, and members of the Kailas Shugendo commune fire-walking to mantric chant in San Francisco, 1969
  Padmasambhava Mantra, Allen Ginsberg with Arthur Russell and Kailas Shugendo Mantric Sun Band, early 1970


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