Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Above are various topographies of despair and fear,  the New York most familiar to a musician/artist like Pat Place (see above b & w postcard 1980),  best known for her slide guitar work with the classic lineup of the Contortions ("I Can't Stand Myself " from the groundbreaking yet somehow flat NO NEW YORK compilation).These were the claustrophobic spaces from which howls of the No Wave were first heard. It was "music" that was powerful and immediate even as it abused and polarized  its few listeners,  even as one particular listener,  Brian Eno sought to castrate it. For those who weren't born to these streets,  NYC now seems  an entertainment mecca treading the banal,  a Disney-fied bit of heaven.  I assure that for a time in the 70's and 80's,  NYC,  Brooklyn, and the Bronx could be truly dangerous places to find oneself,  and for that alone,  exhilarating.  NO WAVE by Marc Masters is about the only comprehensive route to finding out about artists like DNA,  Mars,  the Contortions,  Lydia Lunch's Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Scott & Beth B, and Amos Poe. Ultimately No Wave is what punk aspired to,  but didn't quite reach.

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