No New York  

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"In 1978 a series of punk rock influenced loud noise music concerts was held at New York’s Artists’ Space that led to the Brian Eno-produced recording No New York. This recording was the first attempt to define the no wave sound, documenting James Chance and the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Mars and DNA." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

No New York is a compilation album released in 1978 by Antilles Records under the curation of producer Brian Eno. Although it only contained songs by four different artists, it is considered by many to be the definitive single album documenting New York City's late-1970s no wave movement.


Background and production

Early in 1978, New York's Artists' Space hosted an underground rock festival with several local bands. The final two days of the show featured DNA and the Contortions on Friday, followed by Mars and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks on Saturday. English musician/producer Brian Eno, who'd originally came to New York to master the Talking Heads second album More Songs About Buildings and Food, was in the audience. Impressed by what he saw and heard, Eno was convinced that this movement should be documented and proposed the idea of a No Wave compilation album with himself as a producer.

When Eno recorded No New York, some of the sessions were done without much of the stylized production he was known for on other artists' albums. James Chance stated that the Contortions tracks were "done totally live in the studio, no separation between the instruments, no overdubs, just like a document." In 1979 Eno stated in his now famous lecture, "The Studio as Compositional Tool", that, "On 'Helen Thormdale' (sic) from the No New York album, I put an echo on the guitar part's click, and used that to trigger the compression on the whole track, so it sounds like helicopter blades."

Release and reception

No New York was released in 1978 on Antilles Records without any notice on the Billboard Charts. The original album had the lyrics printed on the inside of the record sleeve, which forced the owner to have to tear apart the sleeve to read them. Critic Richard C. Walls writing for Creem initial review described it as the most "ferociously avant-garde and aggressively ugly music since Albert Ayler puked all over my brain back in - what? - 64." and stated "If you're intrepid enough to want to hear this stuff (a friend, 3/4 into the first side, complained that the music was painful - she wasn't referring to any abstract reaction, she was grimacing), be advised that Antilles is a division of Island Records, which ain't exactly Transamerica Corp. You'll probably have to make a little effort to procure it, because there's no way it's going to come to you."

The original pressing of the LP contained a lyric sheet that was intentionally printed inside out, so the lyrics were inaccessible. It was first reissued on CD by Island in Japan. The album was re-issued in 2005 by Lilith Records on vinyl and digipak form on compact disc.

Reviews of the reissue were positive. Todd Kristel of the online music database Allmusic gave the album four and half stars out of five and stated that "this seminal album remains the definitive document of New York's no wave movement," but also echoed Walls's statement from 1978, saying, "Some listeners may be fascinated by the music on No New York while others may find it unbearable". In December 2007, Blender placed the album at number 65 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever".


1. "Dish It Out"
2. "Flip Your Face"
3. "Jaded"
4. "I Can't Stand Myself"
5. "Burning Rubber"
6. "Closet"
7. "Red Alert"
8. "I Woke Up Dreaming"
9. "Helen Fordsdale"
10. "Hairwaves"
11. "Tunnel"
12. "Puerto Rican Ghost"
13. "Egomaniac's Kiss"
14. "Lionel"
15. "Not Moving"
16. "Size"


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "No New York" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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