Bored with the predictable career options, classically trained musicians like Jill Kroesen and Arthur Russell were breaking new ground in New York City starting in the mid-1970s. Together with non-musicians and performers, they made the line between music and art blur.

Most of those involved in what critics would label no wave in 1978 shared a nihilistic mindset. Inspired by prevailing styles such as punk, hip-hop, disco, dub, and world music, and driven by a DIY attitude, they explored realms ranging from abrasive noise to mutant disco. 

In their conversation during No Wave Time Warp, visual artist and noise musician Joseph Nechvatal and Paul Paulun focused on the noisier terrain that movement explored. This show features what else mattered at the time. 44-minute mix featuring tracks by Boris Policeband, Bush Tetras, Jill Kroesen, Konk and others.

Featured cover art: Compilation No New York (1978)

Boris Policeband – Tow Away

Performance artist, classically trained violist and one-man act Mark Perelman aka Boris Policeband was fascinated by cop culture and used fragments from police radio transmissions in his music. (1979, Vacuum Records)

Jill Kroesen – I’m Sorry I’m Such A Weenie

Having studied at Mills College in Oakland with Terry Riley and Robert Ashley, Kroesen combined music, performance, and cabaret in a variety of collaborative theater works and avantgarde productions in NYC, but also in her solo works. (1982, Lovely Music Ltd.)

3 Teens Kill 4 – Hut / Bean Song

Working with found sounds, voices and material from the radio, visual artist David Wojnarowicz explored the potential of handheld tape recorders with the band 3 Teens Kill 4. The result is neither rock nor punk, but more like a film perceived with the ears. (1982, Point Blank Records)

Walter Steding – Shout

The visual artist, who also developed his own electronic musical instruments, was both a one-man band and bandleader, performing as an opening act at CBGB, art galleries, and Andy Warhol’s Factory. (1980, Red Star Records)

Suicide – Mr. Ray

Already in 1970, the duo of Alan Vega and Martin Rev were using the term punk to describe their pioneering music, which is characterized by pulsing, minimalist electronic instrumentation and murmuring, jittery vocals. (1980, Island Records)

Konk – What U Want

Coming up with a blend of post-punk and disco with influences from Afrobeat, jazz, funk and hip-hop, Konk made their mark on dance music in New York City in the early Eighties. Released on avantgarde composer Arthur Russell’s dance music label Sleeping Bag Records. (1984, Sleeping Bag Records)

John Giorno – Stretching It Wider

The performance artist and advocate of psychedelic poetry angrily describes the hopeless situation from the perspective of someone who managed to walk away from it. (Giorno Poetry Systems, 1982)

Teenage Jesus And The Jerks – The Closet

Lydia Lunch hated punk, but made use of typical rock bands’ instrumentation when forming her band in 1976 at the age of 16. After dissolving three years later, their recorded legacy consisted of 15 pieces with a total running time of about 20 minutes. (1978, Antilles)

Ike Yard – Motiv

Transforming a dark and dystopian New York City vibe into sound. (1981, Les Disques Du Crépuscule)

Bush Tetras – Snakes Crawl

Aiming to promote tribal elements, Bush Tetras combined manic and funky grooves with post-punk. (1980, 99 Records)

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