In discussion with Tim Lawrence on “Go Bang #5″ by Dinosaur L (1982).
The work on your book on Arthur Russell, “Hold On To Your Dreams”, has probably made you quite an expert on his works, but when was actually the first time you heard “Go Bang! #5″? Was it the song as a single, or did you hear it in the context of the whole “24 – 24 Music” album?
I first heard François Kevorkian’s remix of “Go Bang! #5” when I bought the “Spaced Out: Ten Original Disco Funk Grooves” back in 1997. I was living in New York at the time, and being a bit of a house head, had been quite resistant to buying so-called “disco classics”. By then I had already heard Todd Terry’s sampling of Lola Blank’s crazed-girl-on-helium rendition of the “Go Bang” lyric, which appeared on “Bango (To The Batmobile),” a 1988 house track. I only got to hear the version that appears on the “24 → 24 Music” album – which is titled “#5 Go Bang!” – later on.
Arthur Russell was responsible for a whole lot of outstanding music. Why did you choose “Go Bang! #5″ over other of his songs? What makes it so important for you?
The first thing I should probably say is that “#5 Go Bang!” appeared on an album by Dinosaur L, not an album by Arthur Russell. Of course Arthur (if I can call him by his first name; at times I feel as though I know him, even though we never met) was the key figure behind Dinosaur L, and pulled all of the appearing musicians together. But Arthur was dead-set on the idea of collaboration, and believed that the relationships he formed with other musicians were meaningful, so he introduced different names for the different line-ups he formed.
Why is “Go Bang” so important? That’s the record that I’ve always thought his most complete, inasmuch as it seemed to capture Arthur’s utopian desire to combine the various sounds of downtown New York – disco, punk/new wave, loft jazz, and the post-minimalist form of compositional music known as new music – in a single piece of music. The record also combines complexity and simplicity; it contains scores of ideas, yet never relinquishes the centrality of the groove. I like all sorts of music, but I particularly like music that manages to combine these elements. I could have also opted instead for “Kiss Me Again”, “Platform On The Ocean”, the “World of Echo” album, “This Is How We Walk On the Moon”. “World of Echo” is an extraordinary piece of work, “Kiss Me Again” gets better by the listen. But “Go Bang” is the one that stands out, especially in terms of dance floor dynamics, plus Arthur was happy with the “Go Bang” turned out, whereas he hated the final mix of “Kiss Me Again” and seemed to feel awkward about the obscure quality of “World of Echo”. Read the rest of this entry »