Liquid Liquid bundle
Bundle includes Liquid Liquid's three classic records (self-titled, Successive Reflexes, and Optimo) in their original 12-inch format as well as an archival LP of rare recordings by the pre-LL bands, Liquid Idiot and Idiot Orchestra.
Liquid Liquid emerged from New York City's vibrant Downtown scene in 1981. Formed by drummer Scott Hartley, bassist Richard McGuire, vocalist Sal Principato and marimba player Dennis Young, the group cut their teeth in underground clubs and street art circles before solidifying their trailblazing style – a fusion of irresistible basslines, junkyard percussion and urgent, free-flowing lyrics. Their three EPs, all originally released on legendary 99 Records, would heavily influence dance-oriented indie rock of the early aughts (LCD Soundsystem, DFA Records, et al.).
Liquid Liquid's eponymous debut establishes their uncompromising vision, from its startling black-and-white sleeve design to the minimalist grooves found within. While Principato's striking pitch-shifted shouts on "Bell Head" lead hypnotic circular rhythms, "Rubbermiro" brings in dub-inflected melodica and Richard Edson (Sonic Youth, Konk) on trumpet, closing appropriately in a locked-groove.
Successive Reflexes picks up where the previous EP leaves off with "Lock Groove," a slow-paced deconstruction of Fela Kuti and Can that shows how quickly the band was able to capture their stripped-down approach in the studio. "Push" drives forward with unapologetic funk, yet still sounds utterly unique. Like their 99 labelmates ESG, Liquid Liquid created music on their own terms and artfully avoided the trappings of any single genre.
Their third EP, 1983's Optimo, continued toward dance-floor perfection, featuring the band's best-known songs, a high water mark for post-punk aficionados. The title track positively erupts when the bass enters, forcing even the stiffest person in the room to move. While it would be an understatement to say that "Cavern" may sound familiar (due to its gross sampling in Grandmaster Melle Mel's "White Lines"), Liquid Liquid were indeed the originators of this iconic New York riff.
Prior to forming Liquid Liquid in 1981, the band members were in two other groups: Liquid Idiot and Idiot Orchestra. While these ensembles sounded more experimental than groove-oriented, the beginnings of Liquid Liquid's spatial / conceptual framework can be heard. This split archival LP collects two rare 7-inches from 1978 and 1980, both of which were originally pressed in hyper-limited editions and self-released by the bands. The package also features a fanzine of ephemera, photos and a new interview with McGuire.
Photo by Kishi Yamamoto.