James Chance / James White

James White's Flaming Demonics

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Flaming Demonics, James Chance's fourth album (and the third released under the James White moniker) continues the pattern set by his previous release, Sax Maniac. Overlaying brutally dissonant, atonal sax solos over spare, minimal funk-derived music, White constructed an unusual, groundbreaking sound. The album certainly won't win over all but the most adventurous, but at least, unlike the rather dry Sax Maniac, it actually shows some fire and spark (even if, clearly, White misses his classic backing band the Contortions). The most impressive song mixes Duke Ellington's "Caravan" and "It Don't Mean a Thing" with a White original, "Melt Yourself Down," and results in howling, glorious chaos. Some of the tracks can seem repetitious (in fact, some themes and ideas from previous records are reworked here), but while White's most groundbreaking work appears to be behind him, there is enough here to make Flaming Demonics, if not a classic, at least a novel listen.

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