(No) Wave Of The Future

The pioneering all-sister Bronx crew ESG (Emerald, Sapphire and Gold) were among the leaders of New York's early '80s No Wave movement, which championed stripped-down post-punk art funk. A South Bronx Story, which culls 16 tracks from ESG's smattering of EPs and lone studio full-length LP, 1983's Come Away With ESG, presents a group ahead of its time.

To wit: Two of the group's best-known tracks, "Moody" (RealAudio excerpt) and "UFO" (RealAudio excerpt) — both from their 1981 self-titled debut EP — have been sampled by such hip-hop all stars as Public Enemy, Doug E. Fresh, Wu-Tang Clan, 3rd Bass and the Beastie Boys. If that's not cred enough, Martin Hannett (Joy Division, New Order) produced the three studio tracks on that EP, and the band played gigs with the Clash, Grandmaster Flash, Public Image Limited and Gang of Four.

Melodic bass anchors the hypnotic percussive flourishes on "Tiny Sticks" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Parking Lot Blues," (RealAudio excerpt)

songs typical of the rhythm-heavy sound favored by the band, which featured a rotating lineup of the Scroggin sisters, Deborah, Renee, Marie and Valerie. On "Come Away" (RealAudio excerpt) they even suggest the breakbeat rhythms of jungle.

ESG may have been heard mostly in other artists' songs, but A South Bronx Story is an impressive attempt to focus attention on the force behind the samples.