While not attracting the same sort of attention as fellow Eighties downtown New York acts Liquid Liquid and ESG, Death Comet Crew was just as important. This groundbreaking trio -- Stuart Argabright, Michael Diekmann, and Shinichi Shimokawa -- used the postdisco, nascent hip-hop sound as a starting point for their work, yet can hardly be classified under the genre. Instead they took in all the styles that were exciting at the time, from punk to funk to disco to electro and back again.
Death Comet Crew's discography, which includes its only proper release (the twelve-inch single "At the Marble Bar") alongside other sundry recordings, is collected on the incredible This Is Riphop. It reels from the driving punk-funk of "Amphipet" to the freaked-out, Eno-influenced "Dance MoFo," the latter of which also includes DJ High Priest (not to be confused with the onetime Antipop Consortium member) on the cuts and scratches. Seminal bizarro and Basquiat collaborator MC Rammellzee is featured throughout, comin' off like the twisted cousin of Melle Mel with simple rhymes that still manage to keep up with -- and complement -- the band's frenetic pace. Cheers to the always-enterprising Troubleman Unlimited label for unearthing this heretofore forgotten classic.
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