|Latest installment in Soul Jazz Records’ journey into the underground music of New York City in the 1980s, this time focussing on the electronic dance/post-punk mutations and proto-electro music that originally came out on mainly small D-I-Y labels.
Today the new wave of New York art/rock groups such as DFA, The Strokes, the Rapture, Juan McLean, James Murphy, The Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeahs all have their roots in this early 1980s New York Noise music scene. This album features text, original photos and interviews documenting this amazing period.
New York Noise 3 is compiled and annotated by Stuart Argabright, an important participant in the New York music scene during this period and features music from Implog, Suicide, Snatch, James Blood Ulmer, Dominatrix and many more.
Beginning in the mid-1970s, the East Village of New York City, A/K/A Downtown, became a hot-bed of musical and artistic ideas. In this small ten-block area practically every musician was also an artist, every artist a film-maker and every film-maker was in a band. Experimental music clashed with the aftermath of Punk and groups such as Snatch, Dominatrix and Implog blurred the boundaries of art, punk and dance music.
New York City at this time featured a bewildering array of musical communities: the birth of Hip-Hop in the Bronx: the punk scene of CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City (Ramones, Talking Heads, Television): the emerging art music scene of Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson: the underground disco scene of David Mancuso’s Loft, Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage; The Free Jazz loft scene (James Blood Ulmer, Rashied Ali) and the No Wave art/rock scene of James Chance, Lydia Lunch et al. The artists featured here created new music influenced by all these scenes.
It’s always cause for rabid excitement when one of Soul Jazz’s seminal ‘New York Noise’ collections rolls into the office, these bumper historical tomes have taken use through the annals of New York’s shockingly forward-thinking no-wave scene and then thrust us back again into reality without ever merely ticking boxes. The third volume in the series is no exception, with tracks from lesser known New York experimentalists such as girl-band Ut, post-industrial tinkerers Ike Yard alongside more known faces such as Suicide’s Martin Rev who turns one of the album’s highlights - a shockingly good 7 minute slice of brooding post Kraut-rock. The album is kicked off rather fittingly with a paean to New York City itself, Dominatrix’s ‘The City That Never Sleeps’. Interestingly, Dominatrix is an alias of none other than Stuart Algabright, who compiled this disc for Soul Jazz, so as an entrée into his murky world there could be nothing better. Tirelessly looping beats are underpinned by a reverberating bassline and sublimely haunting vocals – maybe a late night taxiride in New York after taking copious amounts of hallucinogenics would set you in good stead for the experience; bizarre, distorted and occasionally worrying. Further on we have a fabulously lo-fi chunk of proto-electro from Boris Policeband and as analogue synthesizers bubble and drone, the voice of a bored sounding gentleman speaks banalities in the foreground. One of the most interesting moments on the disc is an extended jam from Implog, which offsets 4/4 electronic pounding with the overdriven sounds of power-tools and a fabulously droll spoken word vocal. As intense white noise bursts decapitate the track without warning a smooth-jazz saxophone jumps in rudely and in all it’s sickly horribleness it actually works - utterly unhinged, and the perfect track to represent this incredible album. I implore you to check it out, even if you’re unfamiliar with the rest in the series – the influence these bands had on electronic music, on the current faddish post-punk, on avant-rock, on experimental, it’s just got to be heard to be believed. Buy.