Benjamin Russell

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""...his best album yet...full of soul...incredible melodic songs..sublime...moving...rewards its listeners…a great album.""

- Aaron Badgley, Spill Magazine

"PLEASURE CENTER is wonderful and full of surprises. As a long time fan, songs have a new flair. The title track is brilliant..."

- Jeff Burson, Synthscape show, Big Satsuma Radio

"I always enjoy his ability to take you elsewhere in song... sophisticated... absorbing..."

- Billcs Music Blog

"I love your music Benjamin!"

- Father to Son Show, CHRW 94.9 FM Radio Western

"What a heartbreaking but beautiful song..."

- Baydreamer - Lauren Scott

"I am a big fan of the Benjamin Russell sound...exceptional, captivating songwriting and song craft..."

- Tom Hilton, A B Records E-zine

“.Pleasure Centre is a great listen from start to finish. A very talented cat out of Montreal, Canada!"

- Jimmy C, Middtown Music Radio

“…loaded with talent!”

- The Hamilton Spectator

"I can't tell you how good this album is!" (PLEASURE CENTER)

- Aaron Badgley, Here Today Show, CFRU 93.3 FM

“…one of our better singer-songwriters.”

- The Montreal Star

“…a wide and expressive vocal range…a talented multi-instrumentalist.”

- Ralph Angelillo, Muzik Etc.

“…experience this uber-talented, charming, and endearing musician..”

- Miss Parker, Rave and Roll Blog

“His style, voice and playing are right on the money.”

- Fanfare Magazine

“The vocals are expressive and strong, carrying a melody mingling energy and shadowy feeling as drums thunder and bass growls.”

- Karl Magi, Freelance Blogger

“A sound and persona of his own.”

- Share

“Combining elements from his punk era with his better remembered electronic Miracle ‘80s pop career…prolific...”

- David Farrell, FYI Music News

“I love this (ROCKHILL) CD. It brings elements from the exciting times of the late sixties and early seventies and makes it fresh and new again, sounding totally modern.”

- Duke Eatmon, CBC Radio One Homerun Show

“…a fantastic show. The interaction was almost unbelievable.”

- The Plant

“…a very special talent.”

- Sunday Express

“An impressive display of staccato, claw hammer style of guitar playing... His voice is smooth and tuneful, evocative of Ian McCulloch from Echo & The Bunnymen.”

- noisography

“…excellent new album is an amalgam of avant-garde modernity, earthy tradition, and Brian Eno-like eccentricity.”

- zoot aloors, canadaisamusicmec.ca

2024
2024 promises to be busy with the launch of a new solo album, PLEASURE CENTER (Feb. 7), an EP collaboration with Greg Fraser, GHOST PARTICLES (Messages From Rudi Van Steene) (spring 2024), and another EP with Rob Stuart (summer 2024).
A singer-songwriter, painter from Saskatoon, now living in Montreal, Benjamin Russell is known for his hit single, MIRACLE, for which he was nominated, "Most Promising Male Vocalist", in the 80s. He has released many albums, singles and videos, and has shown his paintings in exhibitions.
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2021 - 2023
In 2021, Benjamin was approached by super fan, Kevin Alberga, asking him to remake Miracle, his hit in the 80s. Kevin credited the original song, now out of print, with helping his son recover from a serious brain injury. The resulting Miracle 2021 (the John Roland Penner mix) went to number one on Artefactor Radio's Top 20.

An explosion of creativity followed with the release of many singles, several albums, and collaborations with other artists, most notably, producer
Rob Stuart.
2023 was a banner year and saw the release of a solo album, FRONTIER, an album length sleep aid called, AMBIENT WHITE NOISE WAVES FOR SLEEP, and two collaborations with producer Rob Stuart: a full length album, SOMETHING IN F MINOR and an EP released in December called, BRIGHTER LIGHT.

FRONTIER was named a top 15 album and
ONE LOVE (Cowboy Reggae Mix) from that album was named in the top 50 songs for 2023 by Jimm Kjelgaard on the Sol of Synthpop show.

SOMETHING IN F MINOR landed on Artefaktor Radio's top album list for 2023.

BRIGHTER LIGHT garnered a spot on Paul Harwood's 2023 top 10 EP list.

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Praise for FRONTIER:

"...one of the biggest talents in this, or any other, country...songs are so full of hooks and strong melodies...tracks that grow stronger with each spin..."
- Aaron Badgley, Spill Magazine

"I can see this in a James Bond film. It's absolutely stunning - it blew me away! This is WHEN THE BUBBLE BREAKS, a duet with Shimmer Johnson. Benjamin Russell, from the album, FRONTIER, and it's so good, I need to share another from Benjamin and this album and this is ONE LOVE (The Cowboy Reggae Mix)."
- Suzanne Letting - Let's Get It On show on www.spectrumonair.com

"Timeless pop sensibilities, a strong vocal performance and a flair for arrangement are all strengths of "Frontier (2023)", the title track from the upcoming album from Benjamin Russell. All but impossible to pin to a specific genre or even time period, this is well made, adult-focused non commercial pop - the kind of stuff that's hard to market but easy to like."
- Ether Diver

"Fabulous. It's like Disney animated movie soundtrack stuff. Melodic rhythmic and bright. I doubt I'll hear anything else more engaging today."
- Div Allan, Matrix Div

"...a song that makes you feel good about yourself."
- BILLCS New Music Report

Early Years
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Benjamin started playing guitar while in high school. The first song he learned was House Of The Rising Sun, on the Silvertone electric guitar he bought from the Sears catalog. It never sounded right because he couldn't afford an amp, so he sold the guitar and got an acoustic. He performed King Crimson's Cadence and Cascade with his sister, Janet, in the high school talent show.
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Solo Acoustic "Folk" Singer

After graduation, he started picking up gigs in coffee-houses and bars around town, then set out for New York, hoping to emulate his hero, Bob Dylan. He stopped in Montreal when he met Elyce - they've been together ever since. In the 70's Benjamin played the expanding repertoire of eclectic songs he was writing, in coffee houses, schools and colleges. He toured across Canada, busking to help make ends meet.

Later, hired as a music specialist in the inner city Montreal schools, Russell taught music and inspired a new generation of songwriters who went on to careers in music, performing, DJing, recording and broadcasting.

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Punk
Punk landed on him like the proverbial ton of bricks! "I had been expressing myself nicely in my songs. I was impressed by the way the punks were saying a lot of the same stuff, but they sort of grabbed you by the collar and made you listen."

He joined his first band called, The Strokes (no not THAT band!) in 1979 playing The Clash, Ramones, T-Rex and Bowie. That soon morphed into doing originals in Madman where Russell was pumping out songs faster than ever. The MADMAN album was recorded on a rented 4-track Tascam reel to reel tape recorder before the band broke up.
"Drugs were a problem and I got fed up with guys showing up coked up enough to think they were playing great, but too much to realize they were starting to stink."
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Post Punk Electro Pop

Benjamin claims MIDI was invented because he needed it. He wanted to program his own beats, and be able to sequence bass so he could play with machines live. His Roland TR-808 and TB-303 could only take him so far. When sequencers and MIDI synths hit, he took off!

TGO records heard the demos he'd made and signed him immediately. In the the pro 24-track Studio Marko, Russell taught the engineers how to lay down a sync tone. He then layered and played all the tracks himself on his 1984 album for which he was nominated, "Most Promising Male Vocalist", in the nationally televised CASBY Awards in 1985.

His music video for
POWER OF LOVE played in high rotation on Much Music and he did TV appearances in support of his album. He performed solo shows at venues like Club Soda, in Montreal, and The Rivoli, in Toronto, backed by racks of synths all synced to his Oberheim DMX drum machine, which had been custom modded to deliver CV and Gate signals to control his Roland equipment. "That really wasn't as much fun as playing with people, but it allowed me to recreate the record live."

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