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ARTISTE:

MARS (US)



BIO

Mars were a New York City No Wave band formed by vocalist Sumner Crane in 1975. He was joined by China Burg (née Constance Burg; a.k.a Lucy Hamilton) (guitar, vocals), Mark Cunningham (bass), and Nancy Arlen (drums), and briefly by Rudolph Grey. The band played one live gig under the name China before changing it to Mars. They played a mixture of angular compositions and freeform ambient noise jams, featuring surrealist lyrics and non-standard drumming; all the members were said to be completely untrained in music before forming the band. Some of the lyrics to one-minute song "Puerto Rican Ghost" are:



"CASUAL T/ Talk to me talk to me/ I hate you perfectly perfect perfection/ XYZ."



Critic Stella Doon wrote in 1977:



"To the uninitiated, Mars may sound like listening to a laundromat magnified. That's because every instrument is making a sound, but who is making which sound? Instead of one direct sound or beat the music travels in at least 3 different directions, speeds of rhythm making a totally orbital sound, one that never really enters the ear instead spinning around the head. At times it sounds like tortured children singing in 7 different tongues."



Mars played live about two dozen times, all in Manhattan. Their first show was at CBGB's in January of 1977; their last one was at Max's Kansas City on December 10, 1978.



Their recorded debut was the "3-E"/ "11,000 Volts" 7-inch single, released by Rebel Records/ ZE Records. The group then released a single live EP in 1979 or 1980, though they had broken up in 1978. Both recordings were compiled by Lydia Lunch's self-run label, Widowspeak Records, in 1986, as 78; the songs were slightly remixed and tweaked by Jim Thirlwell (a.k.a. Foetus). It was reissued by Atavistic Records on CD in 1996 as 78+.



In 1978, Mars appeared on the influential No New York compilation LP produced by Brian Eno, along with DNA, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and James Chance and the Contortions, which helped to bring the nascent No Wave genre into the foreground.



Due to complaints about Thirlwell's modifications on 78/78+, the full studio recordings of Mars (totaling about 30 minutes) surfaced in 2003 on the Spanish labels G3G and Spookysound. Cunningham ran both Hyrax Records and Spookysound Records. (To clarify: 78, 78+, and Mars LP: The Complete Studio Recordings, NYC 1977-1978 all feature essentially the same half-hour batch of music, but with very slight auditory differences.) After the break-up of Mars, Cunningham was part of the bizarre John Gavanti "no wave opera" project with Crane, Arto Lindsay, and others. He has also worked with the band Don King, and with his current outfit, Convolution.



Crane died of lymphoma on April 14, 2003. Arlen died on September 17, 2006, following heart surgery.
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12ème Nuits de l'Entrepôt, le samedi 01/05/1999 (L'Entrepôt)