AMAZING!!! Dug out of storage after 30 years in a basement, Soul Jazz present '135 Grand Street New York 1979', Ericka Beckman's thrilling document of downtown New York during the infamous No Wave period of late 1970s. Over 60 minutes she features better known names like Rhys Chatham
and the legendary Ut next to lesser known but no less intriguing acts like A Band, Chinese Puzzle and the brilliant Youth In Asia. On 8mm film she captures the raw energy of a scene in the ascendant, in flux between art world attitudes and intuitive D.I.Y forcefulness, where earnest young men and women were cross-breeding musical ideas like germs in the petri dish of East Village and Soho. She matches the raw, radical and minimalist nature of the groups with a sparse set-up in her downtown loft, placing them in front of the camera and letting them do their thing, capturing moments like Youth In Asia screaming into a dead mic and the intimate synth/guitar/vocal performance of Steve Piccolo's provocative 'Superior Genes' and Jill Kroesen's weirdly intense 'Freaks Of Nature'. The all-female 'Ut' give two typical unpolished and expressive performances, among the most riveting of the disc, and Rhys Chatham and Wharton Tier's 'Guitar Trio' is a little piece of history succinctly combining the philosophies of The Ramones and Philip Glass in efficiently minimalist fashion, complemented by a fading slide show. Seriously, if you're into avant or experimental rock of any kind you'll get a massive kick of this film, it's a riveting and wholly authentic document of the downtown scene that has been plundered for inspiration but never supassed for sheer levels of imagination, invention and just-fucking-do-it-yourself-ness. Recommended!