In the world of disco, it's seldom that you'll find an artist like Arthur Russell. Here's a little background on this leftfield disco master: He studied cello, then Indian Music at the Ali Akbar Khan School in SF, accompanied legendary beat poets like Allen Ginsberg, worked with large bands with musicians like David Byrne, and went to produce some of disco's finest works. In 1979, he produced one of Sire Records' first hits, Dinosaur's "Kiss Me Again," along with Loose Joint's "Is It All Over My Face?" before starting his own label, Sleeping Bag Records. Twenty years after its initial vinyl release, Dinosaur L's avant-disco album 24 --> 24 Music gets the deluxe reissue treatment as a deluxe four-LP box set. It's a pristine repress of their first album, as well as a collection of Russell's other works for Sleeping Bag and captures all the creativity and energy of Russell's earliest works with dance music. Listen to "Clean On Your Bean #1" and hear how modern the production is. The reverbed slap bass intro, the new wave horns, the eerie chords, and the addictively strange hook is the envy of many producers today. The line in his hit "Go Bang! (Thank You Arthur Edit)" summarizes the energy of the early 80's disco/new wave scene, "I wanna see all my friends at once, I'll do anything to get a chance to Go Bang! I wanna Go Bang!" Pure genius. Also check his more experimental jams "#7," "#3 (in The Corn Belt)," for a taste of his wilder side. Also includes the "#5 Go Bang! (Francois K Mix) and "In The Corn Belt (Larry Levan Mix)" where you have two key NY DJ's giving their unique versions. There's more to be had once you've worked your way through the Dinosaur L material. Russell recorded and produced under a plethora of aliases for Sleeping Bag. One of his projects with the legendary Nicky Siano, Felix, gets represented with two versions of their killer "You Can't Hold Me Down," as well as "Tiger Stripes." And Russell's own Indian Ocean sees a proper vinyl pressing of "School Bell / Treehous," the first time since its original release in 1986. Each of the four 12"s is housed in its own LP sleeve, within a hand pulled, screen printed outer box. Liner notes come courtesy of Tim Lawrence (Russell biographer and author of the acclaimed disco history Love Saves The Day) and there are previously unpublished photographs by Janette Beckman. Pretty much a must have for any fan. Highly recommended.
- music label: Sleeping Bag
reviewed by The Voice 10/2011