James Chance & The Contortions

White Cannibal

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Originally released as a ROIR cassette-only, these brutal, yet danceable, live tracks were recorded in New York at the Peppermint Lounge and the '80s Club in 1980 and '81. James Chance and the Contortions mixed punk, free jazz, and funk that has yet to be matched, epitomizing the seedy underbelly of the New York no wave scene of the period. Unlike certain Lydia Lunch performance art projects of the time, Chance provides a timeless attack by combining screeching alto sax and vocal rants with a relentless disco beat. Ornette Coleman and Ronald Shannon Jackson guitarist Bern Nix and trombonist Joseph Bowie (brother of Lester) bring jazz credentials to this late edition of the Contortions while the background vocals of the Discolitas provide the sleazy stage pageantry Chance championed. The sound quality is not great, but that only adds to the original highly charged haze under which it was made. Three of the seven tracks are covers, "That Old Black Magic" and two from James Brown, "I Got You" and "King Heroin."

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