Tuesday, July 21, 2009

mars - live @ irving plaza august 4 1978



I saw Sumner Crane as the savant of no wave. He didn't seem to be chasing rock stardom or a Soho art career. Mars terrorized lower Manhattan for about two years, committing 32 minutes of themselves to tape for the ages. Bassist Mark Cunningham writes in his liner notes to Mars - The Complete Studio Recordings: NYC 1977-1978 (G3G/Spooky Sound), "As Sumner once described it, it was a regression from ten to one, and so we reached an end." Crane, who died in 2003, told me he started listening to jazz as a kid, and that jazz, cool or chaotic, always felt like something humans had built piece by piece - the drums go here, this part is added to that. But his first encounter with Jerry Lee Lewis left him dumbfounded and disoriented. Here was something that seemed to have arrived fully formed from outer space. Mars were an alien force as well, with mangled pop hooks and gallows humor percolating through a stumbling, relentless urban squall. I got to see them once, at Max's Kansas City December '78, which seems to have been their final show. Clearly they had completed the mission and were moving on, with Crane spending much of the set blowing a battered trumpet from a battered chair.

mars
live @ irving plaza august 4 1978
cassette

01 Outside Africa 2.30
02 Puerto Rican Ghost 1.36
03 Hairwaves 3.50
04 Fractions 3.12
05 Ich Bin Squat 3.20
06 N.N.End* 14.29
07 Eno's Autograph Session .40

Sumner Crane / Connie Burg / Mark Cunningham / Nancy Arlen
*and Rudolph Grey
Recorded live @ Irving Plaza NYC by Brian Eno (on safari) August 4 1978

cassette @320

23 comments:

Lucky said...

oh yes, reservatory!!!

another triple beautiness from your side, i thank you so much! it feels almost like lessons in american music history - i've never paid much attention to mars, only heard them on eno's no wave compilation. and although i can appreciate early reich, i didn't knew the fact about the re-recording! and last but not least - suffice to say that i never heard of the super boiro band on sylliphone. :)

grazie mille.

Lucky said...

p.s.: i don't consider the super boiro band as lesson in american music history, of course!! just to make that clear. ;)

reservatory said...

As members of Devo described their late-seventies encounter with Neil Young, "Ancient history up close!" In this regard, I am preparing a post of personal recollections from my time as Abraham Lincoln's secret lover...

gidouille said...

Thanks for this, I have the complete studio recordings, which the surviving band members issued a couple years ago, the last of which date to December 1978. It will be interesting to compare them to this tape from four months earlier. They mention having been a bit resistant to Eno's use of board effects while mixing the No New York recordings, but were ultimately happy with the results. I wonder if he did any sweetening of this in post.

Lucky said...

reservatory - i'm sorry i have misinterpreted the aspect of this recording, which is NOT a bootleg, as you told here:

the Mars cassette is not technically a bootleg, but a dub from bassist Mark Cunningham's copy of Eno's master (also a cassette, as it happens). From the sands of time...

:)

Lucky said...

abraham lincoln's secret lover? you as well could have been charles ives' spiritual landscape gardener, or john cage's secret housefly in the prepared piano-net, right? :D

reservatory said...

Yeah, I'm the punk rock Zelig. Poke me with a stick and the years come spewing out!

Thatcher Keats said...

Dude. Whoa. Thanks.

Lucky said...

it's wonderful to have you as a contributor. for me there's no way in telling with what you'll come up next, and i'm almost sure that one of the most difficult tasks for you must be to choose something from your vault, isn't that so?

i just watched a movie by guy marc hinant (sub rosa) were david toop plays records from his collection and talks about. he has a lot of knowledge about various forms of music, be it field recordings from the amazonas, korean court music, john cage, amm, exotica, hasil adkins, etc. - and it's a pleasure to see him pick them, decide, and especially talk about.

reservatory said...

Do you have the title of the David Toop platter party film? I actually have a late seventies Toop ethnic music release in my posts pile...

Lucky said...

"I Never Promised You A Rose Garden"
- A Portrait Of David Toop Through His Records Collection

A film by Guy-Marc Hinant and Dominique Lohle.
Sub Rosa, OME10, 2009.
1 hr 36 min

(have a look @ sfrp...)

reservatory said...

Am watching the Toop thing right now and have already tracked down a copy of the Venezuelan bird lp. What amazing sounds! Also, the first record he pulls off the shelf, Sacred Flute Music From New Guinea, is the one I was going to post. HAHAHA! I thought I was hallucinating. So thanks for the tip. A very interesting, VERY English guy.

Lucky said...

reservatory - glad you dig this little film. oh, i'd LOVE to hear that bird lp, the sounds in the film were hilarious! also the recordings of the yanomami ritual, my hairs raised while hearing that.

did you listen to my 'whirled mix'? there i included the incredible sound produced by cicadas, which i actually heard like that in the jungle in western sumatra.

gidouille said...

Speaking of birds, there's a pretty amazing record I got from Recommended back in the day, entitled Voices of Matsulu, Haaled, which is recordings of birds in the Estonian Estuary. It's on a soviet label, Melodiya, I believe.

Lucky said...

speaking of recommended - we have a psychic here at the hut who used to work for recommended... ;)

btw - did you actually receive the invitation? out almost a week.

gidouille said...

Did not receive the invite. I set up a particular account and it may not have been configured correctly at first. I'll resend the email for you to reply to and see if it works now.

I seem to recall someone here having mentioned working at Recommended. It was my dream once, but I wrote Chris and he politely put me off, probably just as well.

Godard said...

Reservatory - with Lucky on the Roche Venezuelan bird recording - would love to hear it - if you get a chance.

And gidouille that Estonian estuary field recording is wonderful, do share if you can.
What did CC say to put you off, exactly?

reservatory said...

Yes, yes. There will be birds in all our futures, no doubt. The only copy I could come up with is a VG+, so I might attempt a bit of a clean up, but we'll see...

the man in the lemonsuit. said...

Thank you SO MUCH! This is an early present for every holiday I don't celebrate! Mars could very well be the most extreme band ever, and I thank you for providing further evidence of their incredibly unique approach.

gidouille said...

Godard, sorry I didn't see this comment until now. It was so long ago, it's hard to recall, but Chris wrote something about the difficulty of getting work permits and suggested I start my own US Recommended branch. He was very nice about it.

Richard said...

Many thanks for this superb piece of history. Also, I used to own the 'Matsulu' birdsong LP and can only echo the requests for it to be posted.

Richard said...

Oops, got it; Venezuelan one, too.
Awesome. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

This Mars live is terrific stuff,just wish someone could post more of this delectable aural savagery,maybe the live cd or Artists Space?Truly a one off wonderful group