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5.0 out of 5 stars Archeology of the Soul, 29 Aug. 2011
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Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: No Wave (Paperback)
Marc Masters has dug into the past to reassemble the cast of those who resided in the lands of non Fame. All were influenced by punk nihilism, whatever they try to say as they strode up on stage to bash out their rhythmic shapes. Each ping was composed of angular guttural chords, pounded to a machine like battering rhythm, some liked it fast and others slow. The original adherents were James Chance, Lydia Lunch, Mars, DNA, Glenn Branca, Pat Place who, amongst others such as Richard Kern, Scot and Beth B made Super 8 docs of the life they fled from and entered into. This book provides a plotted history, detailing the participants and their cultural legacy.

The author traces some of the subsequent impacts on outsider culture as the wave spread outwards. The clang and screetch of the era has diminished, along with experimentation. In its wake the material world of corporate success, its desire for synthesis and harmony has ultimately glazed over the atonal jarring noise. The representation of the sleek machine, does not like dissonance in any shape or form so this avant revolt has been consigned to the backwater.

Does it say anything? The reason why it still carries a message is due to the exploration of an inner state, rather than the external political worlds of Dead Kennedy's, Sex Pistols or the Clash. It also illuminates a particular candle; with enough belief and imagination, anyone can create a scene. The emphasis was on finding a personal voice, that had been stomped on, as opposed to being subsumed within a collective reduction of what happened next; wimp pop, nouveau pop or gluebag Oi.

The book is a large one, filled with black and white pictures of the participants, looking young and angry, snapped and frozen in an era. The writing puts the looks into a context, as the various bands later appeared in the famous comp "No New York". Bowie and Eno looked into the scene and pulled some of the particiants into a structure. The author does a descent job at looking into the social context. This is extremely welcome because most muso journalists operated in a cultural vacuum, a little Prisoner bubble where nothing seemingly impacted from the outside world on their sacred sound.

It is written from a fans view, a labour composed of love, rather than the usual soundbites dished out by some Oxbridge journo thrown together. Worth purchasing to peek into a time when vibrancy, dissonance, anti authoritarianism and violence were all available currencies. Plus for the first time you had women operating on an equal footing as the men in forming bands and playing guitars - the first glimpse of fem power that was neither formulated pap a la Spice Girlzzz.

Along with the other books of the era this is worth a peek within, just to get some ideas for the next stage of modernity.
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No Wave
No Wave by Marc Masters (Paperback - 1 Oct. 2007)
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