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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NY No Wave Classic, 4 Aug 2007
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: 78+ (Audio CD)
78+ is a reissue of pretty much everything Mars recorded, this is the version that was issued in the 80s on Lydia Lunch's Widowspeak records - Lunch provides the brief liner notes here (Lunch's former collaborator/partner J.G. Thirwell did the post-production/mix here that was criticised by some). Four of these tracks - 'Helen Forsdale', 'Tunnel', 'Hairwaves' & 'Puerto Rican Ghost' - featured on the classic Brian Eno-compilation No New York, alongside four tracks-a-piece from James Chance & The Contortions, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, and DNA. That itself was quite controversial and left off many other revered No Wave bands who can be found on other compilations these days!!

Mars, the band, only existed for a few years in the mid to late seventies, though were seen as hugely influential in that New York scene - the presense of 78+ and the reissue of No New York, as well as brief musings on them in Punk: Attitude and Rip It Up and Start Again, suggest that they're still relevant. Of all those bands associated with that New York scene, they seem the one that get mentioned most often. Mars were Sumner Crane, China Burg, Mark Cunningham & Nancy Arlen - Crane and Arlen sadly died in 2003 and 2006 respectively.

78+ is a slightly remixed/reworked version of the material originally released on '78, with the 3-E b/w 11,000 Volts single added - there is another compilation of pretty much the same material, on 2003's The Complete Studio Recordings. I've not heard the pre-Thirwell mixes, so can't really judge - it doesn't sound anything like Foetus or Wiseblood, so maybe closer to the first Neubauten compilation or the Honeymoon in Red album?

Mars are extremely out there, the music veers between white noise and an angular approach - if The Residents had tried to imitate early Pere Ubu/Joy Division? Like Merzbow, Melt Banana, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, early Swans, certain Royal Trux, Pussy Galore, most Throbbing Gristle, Chrome, Boredoms and Scratch Acid, you might think this is just noise. There are shouts, screams and chants - the louder it gets, the less/more sense it makes! Personally, I like something noisy and out there, and this is certainly that - from the moans and screams of 'The Immediate Stages of the Erotic' (a deranged companion to TG's 'Catholic Sex'), to the abstract atmosphere of 'Hairwaves', to the opening single...this is very avant stuff. It might just be noise, or be dismissed as art, or the product of people wanting to disturb, but this was the sound of where things were going after various types of punk - this is the sound of the future and New York City. Head music that is out of its mind, they really don't make them like this anymore!
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78+ by Mars (Audio CD - 2005)
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