It's an unlikely story: avant-garde cellist sees the light in a disco glitterball at New York gay club The Gallery and decides disco is the ultimate modern format for exploring minimalist composition. In the mid-'70s, Russell—conservatory-trained, a scholar of Eastern music forms, steeped in the ideas of Steve Reich and Terry Riley—was blown away by the engulfing quality of music transmitted over a massive club sound system and literally entranced by disco's use of repetition.
Grant Lee Phillips and Jeffrey Clark, natives of California's San Joaquim Valley, formed Shiva Burlesque in what is now Santa Clarita, 30 miles north of Los Angeles, in 1986. As you can hear from their eponymous debut album, released in 1988 to howls of approval from an enthusiastic fanbase at what used to be Melody Maker, Shiva were in thrall to the looming psychedelia of The Doors and Love.
Ten-CD companion to last year's 24 Hours live CD box set