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No Wave

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No Wave

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No Wave was a short-lived but influential offshoot of punk rock centered in New York City during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The term No Wave was partly a satiric wordplay rejecting the commercial elements of the then-popular New Wave genre, and also a declaration of the music's experimental nature: No Wave music belonged to no fixed style or genre.

In many ways, No Wave is not a clearly definable genre. There is, for example, no fixed harmony as in most rock music and blues music. There are some elements common to many No Wave performers, including abrasive atonal sounds, strong emphasis on repetitive rhythm, and more emphasis on mood and texture than on conventional melody. Lyrics often focused on nihilism and confrontation ("Little orphans running through the bloody snow/No more ankles and no more clothes"-Teenage Jesus and the Jerks), or were puzzlingly abstract ("Why be ashamed of hatred/There's nothing wrong with burning"-Swans).

No Wave also drew on performance art. DNA, for example, was formed by three people with little or no experience playing musical instruments or performing live. Rather than play songs using "proper" methods, DNA quickly utilized their naïveté and played strikingly unique sounds.

Performers classified as No Wave generally had little music style in common: Various groups drew on such disparate styles as funk and jazz (James Chance), blues, aleatoric music and punk rock. Mars, Swans and The Static experimented with extremely loud, droning music that was frequently characterized by repetitive drumbeats and explicitly nihilistic lyrics.

No Wave had an important impact on noise and industrial bands who formed after, like Big Black, Lev Six, Helmet, and Live Skull. Sonic Youth emerged from this scene by creating music-as-art that eventually reached mass audiences and critical acclaim.

The Brian Eno-"produced" (1) album No New York is perhaps the best example of this genre, featuring songs by Mars, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, DNA and James Chance.

Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again : Postpunk 1978-1984 , wrote

And although "affection" is possibly an odd word to use in reference to a bunch of nihilists, I do feel fond of the No Wave people. James Chance's music actually stands up really well, I think; there are great moments throughout Lydia Lunch's long discography, and Suicide's records are just beautiful. (Listen to James Chance & the Contortions, "Contort Yourself," 1979; and Suicide, "Touch Me," 1980.) [1]

Also during this time there was a period of No Wave Cinema which was an underground film movement in the East Village. No Wave filmmakers included Amos Poe, John Lurie, Scott B and Beth B, and led to the Cinema of Transgression and work by Nick Zedd and Richard Kern.

Late outliers of this movement included groups such as Skeleton Key, Cop Shoot Cop, VPN and others.

See also

External links

Punk rock
Anarcho-punk - Anti-folk - Crust punk - Garage punk - Hardcore - Post-hardcore - Horror punk - New Wave - No Wave - Noise rock - Oi! - Pop punk - Post-punk - Psychobilly - Deathcountry - Riot grrrl - Ska punk - Streetpunk - Two Tone
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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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