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an abstract image that the eye tricks the mind into believing has meaning
December 17, 2007 4:18 PM   Subscribe

New York No Wave Archive. "No Wave was a short-lived but influential music and art movement in downtown New York in the late 1970s and 1980s. The name was a reaction to the sanitized Punk Rock trading under the name 'New wave' for those people who wanted a sanitized version of punk." Also, outside of "No New York."
posted by Joey Michaels (28 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, amazing! thanks so much for posting this!
posted by ethel at 4:23 PM on December 17, 2007


Nice post, Joey!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:25 PM on December 17, 2007


I do believe that the first link -- the No Wave Archive -- is maintained by Weasel Walter, of The Flying Luttenbachers, amongst many other projects. He was very much a player in the Chicago No Wave scene of the 90s.

Anyway, "No New York" is probably one of my favorite albums. I just love "Flip Your Face."
posted by pfafflin at 4:35 PM on December 17, 2007


There are...some elements common to most No Wave music, such as abrasive atonal sounds, repetitive driving rhythms, and a tendency to emphasize musical texture over melody.

Abrasively atonal sounds and repetitive driving rhythms are what you get when you let art students play music. I long ago accepted that I will never understand why people enjoy atonal music. Hell, I couldn't even stand that bizarre trend in the late '80s/early '90s where your music cred was (apparently) determined by how poorly you tuned your instrument.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 4:37 PM on December 17, 2007


pfafflin: I do believe that the first link -- the No Wave Archive -- is maintained by Weasel Walter

You are correct!
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:40 PM on December 17, 2007


The name was a reaction to the sanitized Punk Rock trading under the name 'New wave' for those people who wanted a sanitized version of punk."

I was never under the impression that New Wave bands like Talking Heads and Devo were ever trying to play sanitized punk music – I was just under the impression that they were just some left-of-center Art Students trying to play interesting music without the b.o. funk and beer-smell of the mosh-pit.
posted by vhsiv at 4:46 PM on December 17, 2007


Abrasively atonal sounds and repetitive driving rhythms are what you get when you let art students play music. I long ago accepted that I will never understand why people enjoy atonal music.

You certainly have a right to dislike whatever music you like without making ignorant generalizations about who is making that music. It's not necessary to understand why people enjoy atonal music, only that they do.
posted by brevator at 5:00 PM on December 17, 2007


Devo , technically, was part of the original punk movement - and The Talking Heads sort of straddled the line. Both were mid/late 1970's bands that inspired some of the New Wave sound, but were not necessarily New Wave themselves.

Of course, during that period, punk was more of a way of creating music than a particular sound. Blondie was, for a time, considered punk, for instance.

New Wave was more of a packaged and processed thing. It was a corporate version of some elements of the late 1970's punk sound.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:00 PM on December 17, 2007


Anybody remember these? 1, 2
I used to own them when I was a collector of all things Police/Sting.

First thing I thought of when I saw the FPP... I'm pretty sure it doesn't count as real "No Wave".
posted by andihazelwood at 5:47 PM on December 17, 2007


This photo could be titled, "Bill Clinton jams with Hazel Adkins just before the grease fire".

Von Lmo's stuff is incredible, just incredible. It's like he's the most sincere man in showbiz and he's deeply concerned about your self-actualization. If he had to come from the black light dimension to sing for your well-being, well, that just plain makes sense.
posted by ardgedee at 5:49 PM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Keep your eyes peeled for both Mark Masters' No Wave book, as well as Byron Coley and Thurston Moore's forthcoming tome.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:01 PM on December 17, 2007


Now I'm obsessing on the New Wave thing. Of course, New Wave was an industry term coined in the late 1970's to market punk to the mainstream. I'm not sure many bands self-identified as "new wave" during that period, but it was generally recognized that new wave was a corporate term by the punk scene.

"No wave," as a term, was a reaction to this corporate term. It was also steeped in a certain amount of nihilism. While The Talking Heads and Devo were probably being marketed as New Wave, and while Devo's world view was bleak, they did not share the same outlook or approach as the No Wave bands.

To whit, "say what you will about the philosophy of devolution, but at least its an ethos."
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:11 PM on December 17, 2007


Um. I don't see any abstract image at all. Halp?
posted by jock@law at 6:43 PM on December 17, 2007


andihazelwood, I wore out my cassette of "No Wave: A Musical Dip Into the Ocean of Contemporary Sounds" and I still miss it. Yes -- I like "Don't Care" by Klark Kent and I'm not ashamed to say it. That said, nothing on that record is "No wave" in the sense used here.
posted by escabeche at 6:43 PM on December 17, 2007


jock@law - It is a Lydia Lunch lyric. I used it because creating abstract sounds (and, in the case of No Wave cinema, images) was a major part of the No Wave movement.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:49 PM on December 17, 2007


As a teen in the 80's, I'd heard about No New York but had no idea how to ever get a copy. I used to ask record store clerks if they had it in stock, only to get sneered at for my naivety (and New Wave hair). When I figured out in the late 90's that I could order anything off the internet I bought an import CD for $50--the most I've paid for an album, and well worth it. I can only imagine what alternate version of myself would exist today if I'd gotten my damp palms on a copy when I was 15.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:07 PM on December 17, 2007


Joey Michaels - Devo , technically, was part of the original punk movement - and The Talking Heads sort of straddled the line. Both were mid/late 1970's bands that inspired some of the New Wave sound, but were not necessarily New Wave themselves.

Of course, during that period, punk was more of a way of creating music than a particular sound. Blondie was, for a time, considered punk, for instance.


According to Jerry Casale, DEVO got lumped in with the Punk scene after an Akron concert opening for The Dead Boys which devolved into a fistfight.

DEVO actually predates "Punk", their musical history stretches back to 1973, and when they started they were more an art band than anything that could be classified as Punk. The Punk influence began to creep in around 1976 as Alan Myers joined the band and their sound shifted from electronic-drum beat experiments to a high-tempo assault with guitars at the fore.

DEVO was never "Punk", if anything their tight performances and complex songs put them under the annoying catch-all "Post-Punk" label before they went synth on "Freedom of Choice."
posted by SansPoint at 7:14 PM on December 17, 2007


SansPoint, I submit to your superior knowledge of Devo.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:24 PM on December 17, 2007


I bought a used copy of No New York when I was in high school after reading that it was "really weird punk music", which wasn't quite right. I kept going back to that record throughout highschool, but it was just too different from everything else I liked at the time. It wasn't unitl years later when I started getting into Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman ("headache jazz" as a friend called it) that I finally started to understand why No New York was so revered.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:53 PM on December 17, 2007


Joey Michaels - I'm one obsessed DEVOtee, but not as obsessed as this guy.
posted by SansPoint at 7:54 PM on December 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


I kept going back to that record throughout highschool, but it was just too different from everything else I liked at the time.

This, in a nutshell, is the tragedy of avant-garde music. It's just too different for most folks.

And I love the term "headache jazz". That's a good 'un!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:56 PM on December 17, 2007


*looks for clip of James Blood Ulmer with Kenwood Dennard, fails*
posted by Wolof at 9:31 PM on December 17, 2007


This is just awesome.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:52 AM on December 18, 2007


Great post, Joey.
And for a good intro to Chicago No Wave/general 90's awesomeness: Cia Via UFO to Mercury.
posted by generalist at 7:29 AM on December 18, 2007


oh dear - my entire youth in one archive. (thx Joey.)
posted by progosk at 7:42 AM on December 18, 2007


I should probably post this to Ask.Me, but I was wondering if there were any new-ish musicians making music like this. Eh?
posted by unknowncommand at 8:49 AM on December 18, 2007


Allegedly, as recently as 2005, yes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:04 AM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


SansPoint: Whoa - that is an awesome Devo link. Favorited!
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2007


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