Toronto
1 min

Best beats

Pink Alert: Cult left-field disco figure Arthur Russell was an Iowa-born cellist and musical wanderer. In the 1970s and ’80s this gay man rubbed elbows with composers John Cage and Phillip Glass, accompanied Beat poet Allen Ginsberg at readings and almost joined The Talking Heads. He even produced nutty tracks for a young rapper named Mark Sinclair (you know him as Vin Diesel). Russell was also a big disco fanatic and made several dancefloor classics that are now just getting the respect they deserve.



His most influential track was the Afro-beat/funky cello classic, “Kiss Me Again.” It’s a throbbing 13-minute scorcher with a divine diva singing her sexual urges through the orgasmic ever-changing rhythms. It’s incredible.



Toronto multi-instrumentalist Sandro Perri (aka Polmo Polpo) is a big fan and has taken this disco nugget for a deeper more existentialist journey. Kiss Me Again And Again (Audio Sensa Records) is Perri’s smart new release, a 21-minute CD single that eliminates the vocals of the original but doesn’t bite the source that feeds him. The disco groove creeps up on you. Perri’s version has a subtler hallucinogenic vibe, more in line with the artsy John Cage or Brian Eno. It’s a romantic and brainy carpet ride.



Russell died from AIDS in 1992. Check out these Arthur Russell reissues: The Work Of Arthur Russell (on Soul Jazz), Calling Out Of Context and World Of Echo (both on Audika Records).