Arthur Russell was the most maddening kind of genius: the kind who produces mountains of extraordinary work, and can barely ever actually finish it. A cellist, singer, songwriter, composer, and disco producer, he wanted to be a pop star, but he also wanted to be a hermetic avant-gardist. He settled for a middle path, with a series of extraordinary singles that are as fragile and free-form as dance music gets, mostly released under pseudonyms: Loose Joints, Dinosaur L, Indian Ocean. (Twelve-inch disco plates let Russell avoid settling on a definitive mix: Loose Joints' pounding/nuzzling "Is It All Over My Face" circulated in multiple editions, with male or female vocals, and was also recorded as "Love Dancin'," which was chopped up and overdubbed into several versions of "Pop Your Funk," and so on.) Russell often turned his protean tapes over to others to complete for discotheques: Francois Kevorkian gave Russell's semi-improvised "Go Bang! #5" a backbone and converted it into a club standard in 1982, and a few years later, Todd Terry flipped it inside out for... More >>>
Not clean on his bean: Loose Joint risks getting newsprint all over his face.