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Wednesday, Aug 18 2004
In the late '70s and early '80s, DNA made a big noise in downtown NYC, setting the bar for the no-wave movement, an extreme offshoot of punk rock that was both a provocative reaction to new-wave trends and a rejection of virtually every other established genre of musicmaking. DNA on DNA collects the group's previously issued material (a 7-inch, an EP, four pieces that appeared on the Brian Eno-produced No New York compilation) and a couple dozen demo and live recordings (many from CBGB's). The 32 tracks on this single disc proffer brash avant-gardisms as art-for-the-art-crowd entertainment: unhinged atonal vocals, blissfully off-kilter beats, grinding detuned guitars. Though rarely heard in its own time, DNA curiously lives on in the strident antics of popular rockers (like Sonic Youth) and scores of obscure experimental improvisers, all of whom know the value of the raucous rebuff -- something the general public is still trying to wrap its head around.

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Sam Prestianni


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