When Arthur Russell died of AIDS-related illness aged 40, he lived in obscurity and was unsuspecting of the impact and influence his recordings made in the ’70s and ’80s would have on artists after he passed away. Having collaborated with David Byrne, Philip Glass, Larry Levan and Francois K, he left an indelible mark on music, from straight-up disco to the avant-garde.
This coming Tuesday, 21st May, marks his birthday, and so parties have been arranged in London and Detroit to mark the occasion. Go Bang will take place tomorrow night (18th May) in south London’s Loughborough Junction, starting with a screening of Matt Wolf’s award-winning documentary ‘Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell’. Naturally, a night of dancing will ensue, with DJs playing leftfield disco cuts strictly à la Russell and his Sleeping Bag classics.
Meanwhile, during Detroit’s famed Movement festival, Circoloco will be presenting ‘Go Bang – A Celebration of Arthur Russell’. A mini-festival all of its own, ‘Go Bang’ will feature dancers, art installations and exhibitions based on the disco instrumentalist, as well as DJ sets from Carl Craig, System of Survival, Ryan Crosson and Lee Curtiss.
For those unable to attend either celebration, a small gift has been given to fans of the artist in the shape of a previously unheard version of Talking Heads’ classic Psycho Killer, featuring Russell on cello. Thanks for the premiere, Dazed Digital!