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Ghost Among the Crew


Last copies of this 2013 release. Ghost Among the Crew marks the return of abrasive and furiously funky hip-hop deconstructionists Death Comet Crew, for the first time since the '80s. It's a remarkable trip: a consolidation of their early feral disassemblies of hip-hop and electro, but also broader in scope, chewing up and spitting out fragments of soul, jazz fusion, punk and industrial music. Death Comet Crew were founded in New York City in 1983 by Stuart Argabright, a founding member of post-punk/industrial mavericks Ike Yard and the mind behind Dominatrix and later, Black Rain. Their sound, then as now, was a singular proposition: urban in mood, exploratory, often compellingly danceable, yet confrontational. It emerged from the interweaving talents of the group's varied members: guitarist Michael Diekmann (of Ike Yard), bassist Shinichi Shimokawa (later of Black Rain) and Nick Taylor aka DJ High Priest, frequently joined by the late, great hip-hop artist and graffiti writer Rammellzee. Having recorded two studio EPs, 1985's At the Marble Bar (featuring Rammellzee) and its follow-up Mystic Eyes, the group disbanded barely a year after forming. They left behind a reputation for their incendiary live performances, several recordings from which were gathered on crucial 2004 compilation This Is Riphop. Ghost Among the Crew -- its title a homage to Rammellzee -- hones the group's abrasive early experimentations while tripping into bold and astrally-minded new territory. Alongside the core quartet of Argabright, Diekmann, Shimokawa and Taylor are new voices, including Rapscallion (a friend of Rammellzee's), Jessica 6/Hercules & Love Affair singer Nomi Ruiz, and Carolyn "Honeychild" Coleman. Its eight tracks are steeped in the impulsive spirit of electric Miles and the deep space romances of Sun Ra, and possessed of an enigmatic yet undeniable pop edge. But equally they're pricked with urban paranoia and dread, traits that have long been hallmarks of Argabright's musical projects.