I fell in love with Arthur Russell years long before I ever knew his name. I’d heard the sparse, hypnotic ‘Wax The Van” by Lola on release in 1987 and been mesmerised by it. I’d adored Loose Joints’ “It Is All Over My Face” and Dinosaur L’s”Go Bang”, to a similar extent. But it was only much later that I realised the same person was behind all those records. And that Russell himself was so much more than the creator of minimal disco. An artist of haunting brilliance.
So many black visionaries have headed into outer space – Sun Ra, Samuel Delany Jr, Parliament. Alice Coltrane’s greatest journey was to inner space.
From the great photographers Malick Sidibe and Seydou Keita to Ali Farka Toure, Mali has given a powerful, daring art to the world. The River is hypnotic, minimal, timeless blues.