Thursday, October 9, 2008

(( RECOMMENDED )) Downtown 81!

*** "As its title suggests, Downtown 81 is mostly set in New York's East Village and Lower East Side in the early '80s; the movie follows Jean (played by then-unknown 19-year-old painter Jean-Michel Basquiat) through blasted streets looking like war zones and in clubs pulsing with ear-melting music. The film serves as window into one of the most exciting periods in New York's art history with many characters from the no wave scene making cameo appearances in the film. Featuring Basquiat's own band Gray as well as Kid Creole and the Coconuts, Coati Mundi, the Lounge Lizards, James White and the Blacks, DNA, Tuxedomoon, Lydia Lunch, the Plastics, Suicide and many others."

Comparable to the Soul Jazz New York Noise compilations, this killer soundtrack is from what is arguably the most influential era of contemporary music. Jean-Michel is basically playing himself in this film and the appearance by Gray (later to feature a young Vincent Gallo as a member) is one of the few available recordings by the group. The film was recently re-issued and is well worth tracking down along with other 1980s NY greats like Wild Style.