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July 19, 2007


I've only just discovered Defunkt and am trying to figure out how that oversight was possible. They play a fusion of jazz, funk, and No Wave (at least one member was also with James Chance and the Contortions) and the result is pretty astounding. Here is a performance from 1981:

There is a documentary about them due out next year.

Posted by smclemee at July 19, 2007 4:43 PM


Defunkt is still around, AFAIK; there is a website. Funny, this morning (wife's visiting her parents) I pulled out some EPs and LPs I hadn't listened to in over a decade: Contortions and Bush Tetras. And I have to say, they're all crap. Perhaps the the Black Rock Coalition is actually much more important than No Wave, and the latter is a free rider on the former. It helps that the BRC was composed of excellent musicians (I admit that this is not always crucial, and that, say, Living Color sound like virtuosity in search of a concept). I believe that the alto saxophonist you see at the beginning is the chronically underappreciated "Black Arthur" Blythe ("chronically underappreciated" goes with "jazz musician" the way "rosy-fingered" goes with "dawn"); the guitarist is Kelvyn Bell, I believe. I recommend any of Blythe's recordings except for the abysmal crossover attempt Put Some Sunshine in It.

Posted by: Tony Nassar at July 21, 2007 12:42 PM

Thanks Tony. I've heard there is a documentary about the band due out at some point.

Can't agree with you about the Bush Tetras being crap, though they have only a few songs that really hold up. No Wave tends to be more interesting to read about than listen to -- but in certain moods it is appealing. It's probably a nostalgia thing.

Posted by: Scott McLemee at July 22, 2007 11:45 AM