Wild Combination is a visually absorbing portrait of the seminal avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist, and disco producer, Arthur Russell. Before his untimely death from AIDS in 1992, Russell created a huge body of music that spanned both pop and the transcendent possibilities of abstract art. Now, over 15 years since his passing, his work is finally finding its audience.
Director Matt Wolf was intrigued with Russell’s music, he said, even before he had heard it. “My friend described a long forgotten gay disco auteur in a farmer’s plaid shirt, obsessively listening to mixes of his own music on the Staten Island Ferry. That image alone was enough, but when I heard the emotional intensity and the complex beauty in Arthur’s music, I was obsessed.”
Wolf incorporates rare archival footage and commentary from Arthur’s family, friends, and closest collaborators—including his parents Chuck and Emily Russell, partner Tom Lee, Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass—to tell this poignant and important story.