No New York – Brian Eno (1978)


No New York is a compilation album released in 1978 by record label Antilles under the curation of producer Brian Eno. Although it only contained songs by four different artists, it is considered by many to be the definitive single album documenting New York City’s late-1970s no wave movement. Early in 1978, New York‘s Artists’ Space hosted an underground rock festival with several local bands. The final two days of the show featured DNA and the Contortions on Friday, followed by Mars and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks on Saturday. English musician/producer Brian Eno, who had originally come to New York to produce the second Talking Heads album More Songs About Buildings and Food, was in the audience. Impressed by what he saw and heard, Eno was convinced that this movement should be documented and proposed the idea of a compilation album with himself as a producer. When Eno recorded No New York, some of the sessions were done without much of the stylized production he was known for on other artists’ albums. James Chance stated that the Contortions tracks were ‘done totally live in the studio, no separation between the instruments, no overdubs, just like a document.’ …”
Wikipedia
Pitchfork
YouTube: No New York – Full CD 43:57

Mars – The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978


“There’s a section in Marc Masters’ excellent No Wave book that lists the bellicose reactions to Mars from the late-’70s music press. New York Rocker’s Andy Schwartz rallies against the ‘total absence of any human feeling save a kind of neurotic violence,’ while an anonymous critic declares them ’empty and arty.’ But the vacuous barbarity of the Mars sound is exactly what made them tick. They were a band perfectly capturing the essence of downtown New York while living in the belly of a bankrupted city. This album collects all 11 studio recordings the band made during its two-year lifespan. Mars resolutely practiced a brand of nonmusic that was atonal, out of standard tune, and leaned heavily on unconventional song structure. For a band that started from a deliberately limited palate, it’s fascinating to hear how they slowly chipped away at their influences. The key to Mars was to devolve, not evolve. …”
Prefix
Pitchfork
W – Mars
YouTube: The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978Z, Live At Irving Plaza, Live, Live At Artists Space, 78+

No Wave Is Boring


“Can boredom be art? Can good art be boring? When a work of art is deemed boring, it’s usually an automatic, accepted pejorative. After all, who would want to be bored by art? Yet some artists have actually imagined positive, counterintuitive answers to those seemingly obvious questions. In some particularly vital cases, those answers themselves were inspired by boredom – by the creativity that can arise out of being bored, and desperately wanting to do something about it. The boredom that infected the intersecting music and film scenes called no wave was a distinct product of time and place. New York City in the late 1970s was empty, dangerous and practically cost-free – a bombed-out wasteland open to anyone fearless enough to squat in an abandoned building and siphon electricity from street lights. In their confrontational, rule-rejecting work, no wave artists reacted to the recent past – the bloating of rock music, the homogenization of cinema, the staid pretension of the art world – but also dealt with their numbing present. They faced a gaping hole created by the droves fleeing Manhattan, and a ‘blank generation’” that punk started but didn’t complete. It was up to no wave to blast away the remaining rubble. …”
Red Bull Music Academy Daily (Video)