Representing dance/fusion here are Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Coati Mundi and French tango-pop artist Calogero. But Downtown 81’s undeniable importance is chronicling the Big Apple’s No Wave movement, leaving some listeners fascinated by the material, while others will find it too discordant.
Experimental synthesists Tuxedomoon, minimalist funksters Liquid Liquid, avant-garde punksters D.N.A., strident funk-punkers James Chance and the Contortions and several others (Lydia Lunch, Suicide) give no quarter, jabbing out years (and even decades) of dissonance ahead of the norm. As a document of a specific time and place, Downtown 81 is matched only by the Brian Eno-produced compilation No New York.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Downtown 81 is currently available.