Along with labelmates ESG, Liquid Liquid exemplified the minimalist funk movement that swept New York’s music underground in 1981. The band’s impressive five-song debut (one side recorded live) fuses metalphones with congas, marimba and other percussive gadgetry to create hypnotic urban-tribal funk. Except for the vocals, that goal is realized. Successive Reflexes also works, although full-scale production values alter the previously skeletal sound.
Optimo — four more songs on another 12-inch — continues the rhythmic intensity, and is specially notable for “Cavern,” an insidious and lengthy bass/drums groove that was later adopted as the musical basis for Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel’s “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It).”