Arthur Russell The Sleeping Bag Sessions on 2LP
With the magnitude of Arthur Russell's legacy quite firmly prominent in the minds of most music lovers today each new reissue of rare or hard-to-find material is rightfully greeted with feverish glee. Sleeping Bag was Arthur Russell's record label, set up in 1981 with Will Socolov and including Kurtis Mantronik amongst the labels A&R, with a roster that included Russell working under a plethora of pseudonyms alongside Mantronix, Cash Money & Marvelous, EPMD and Just-Ice among other seminal NYC acts during the mid-late 80's exploring the nascent genres of hiphop, disco and proto house, or basically put, dance music.
This compilation looks at the work of Russell at the helm of the studio behind Sleeping Bag, in various roles credited as editor, writer, mixer, remixer and producer behind some of the labels finest moments and influencing decades of dance music to come. The set's opening track "5 Minutes" by Bonzo Washington is included in two forms remixed by Russell, with stuttering tape edits spliced together by the genius to create an freaking wild art of noise style sample collage with a mean electroboogie groove, while Felix's "Tiger Stripes" crediting Russell as writer under his Killer Whale alias with Nicky Siano on production is simply a stone cold dancefloor classic that really needs no introduction.
The 1984 joint "Radio Rhythm" by Clandestine feat. Ned Sublette sounds like an ancient Primus track but in it's remixed form by Russell takes on a proto technofunk vibe with driving synthlines and almost psychedelic multitrack layering, or check his mix for Sounds Of JHS 126 Brooklyn splaying the vocals into dynamic panning for a totally next level effect. The two versions of Indian Ocean's "School Bell/Tree House" are unbelievably sublime, and easily amongst his best work, while the 12 minute, heavily reverb treated Walter Gibbons mix of Dinosaur L's seminal "Go Bang!" is worth the price of admission alone!