DNA (Last Live at CBGB's)

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A live set from CBGB's of the legendary no wave band with members Arto Lindsay, Tim Wright and Ikue Mori. Their approach was to take the already pared-down ethos of punk rock and strip it even further of ornamentation, including the dismantling of the rockish song structure. The tunes are raw, turbulent, disjointed, and short; many end before the listener begins to have a grasp on them. Lindsay's strangled yelp of a voice is dominant here, his words a steady flow of everyday non-sequiturs. Interestingly, given his direction in ensuing years, he is already occasionally referencing the Portuguese of his Brazilian childhood. His studiedly naïve guitar technique is in full flower by this point, sounding like the bastard child of Derek Bailey. Wright and Mori provide what structural spine there is, the former alluding in several instances to Captain Beefheart bassist Rockette Morton, the latter pounding with joyous abandon. Hearing DNA was a cathartic experience for many musicians in the experimental New York scene of the early '80s looking to combine the power of punk with avant-garde and improvisatory elements; album producer John Zorn cited them as an influence in the creation of his Naked City band, for example. While it's impossible to recreate the atmosphere of the time, this disc goes a long way in demonstrating what the excitement was about. Recommended.

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