No Wave

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No Wave was a short-lived but influential underground music, film, performance art, video, and contemporary art scene that had its beginnings during the mid-1970s in New York City.[1] The term No Wave is in part satirical word play rejecting the commercial elements of the then-popular New Wave genre—a term imported into the New York contemporary artworld by Diego Cortez in a show he curated called "New York/New Wave" held at the Institute for Art and Urban Resources (1981).


Styles and characteristics

No Wave is not a clearly definable musical genre with consistent features. Various groups drew on such disparate styles as funk, jazz, blues, punk rock, avant garde, and experimental. There are, however, some elements common to most No Wave music, such as abrasive atonal sounds, repetitive driving rhythms, and a tendency to emphasize musical texture over melody—typical of La Monte Young's early downtown music.

In 1978 a punk-influenced noise series was held at New York’s Artists Space that led to the Brian Eno-produced recording No New York, documenting James Chance and the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars, and DNA.[3]

Sonic Youth made their first live appearance at Noise Fest, a noise music festival curated by Thurston Moore at the art space White Columns in June 1981.[4] Each night three to five acts performed, including Glenn Branca, Rhys Chatham, Rudolph Grey, Robin Crutchfield's Dark Day, and others.[5]

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