Downtown Archæologies

No Wave

by Peter

No Wave
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“No Wave” was an underground and alternative scene in film and music. Its characteristics can be difficult to define, with its style being rooted more in being anti-rock or anti-film. Notable bands in the scene include James Chance and the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars, DNA, Theoretical Girls and Rhys Chatham. Filmmakers included Amos Poe, Eric Mitchell, Charlie Ahearn, Vincent Gallo, James Nares, Jim Jarmusch, Vivienne Dick, Scott B and Beth B and Seth Tillett, and led to the Cinema of Transgression and work by Nick Zedd and Richard Kern.

In a New York Times article, Thurston Moore of the band Sonic Youth says that “It was a little, blippy scene. It came out of the gate finished.”

He also says “only a narrow definition would fit the genre, which was so contrary in its sound and attitude that too much outside context would dilute its impact.””