Lydia Lunch and Umar Bin Hassan | NO WAVE OUT
Now available for touring. For information contact Susan Martin | email@example.com
NO WAVE OUT is a brazen, unprecedented live performance project uniting disparate styles, cultures and generations of intellectual revolt into a unified tapestry teeming with word and sound. The performance features seamless volleys of confrontational poetic sparring between No Wave icon Lydia Lunch and legendary Last Poet Umar Bin Hassan. Lunch is known for her multidisciplinary assaults on the status quo, dating back to the mid-70s, when she spearheaded the mythic New York City-based No Wave movement as a 17-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, with the abrasive, nightmarish deconstruction of a rock group called Teenage Jesus and the Jerks.
During the past four decades, Lunch has led a diverse career, launched numerous musical groups and collaborations, starred in films, written books, and created visual art and photography, yet her core motivation is to reduce everything down to the pure, uncut spoken word. First documented in 1984 on her release The Uncensored Lydia Lunch (Widowspeak Productions/Atavistic), the apocalyptic, no-holds-barred solo verbal assaults of Ms. Lunch have electrified audiences across the globe on numerous tours, festival appearances, and audio and video documents. In 2015, her spoken word classic, Conspiracy of Women (1990), was re-issued by DJ Nicolas Jaar on his label, Other People.
Umar Bin Hassan first became known during the late 60s, as a member of the prototypical poetry and percussion unit The Last Poets, who were both a seminal influence on, and seemed to singularly predict Hip Hop and Rap forms. As bold messengers of African-American consciousness and rage during that tumultuous era, Bin Hassan and his peers dealt with articulations of both personal and political concerns in a raw, stripped-down manner which reflected the turmoil of the changing times and the language of the streets. Mr. Bin Hassan figures prominently on three core 70s Last Poets releases (as well as others from the mid-90s produced by acclaimed musician Bill Laswell) and has had cameos on releases by Common, Public Enemy, Bernie Worrell and others.
The rapid-fire exchanges between Lunch and Bin Hassan are bolstered by Lunch’s Retrovirus cohorts Tim Dahl (bass guitar) and Weasel Walter (guitar) as well as associated Last Poets percussionist Don Babatunde and drummer Shaun Kelly. The freely improvised, but powerfully rhythmic foundation of the band draws equally on the streams of funk, jazz, avant-garde noise and No Wave skronk in equal amounts, creating a contrapuntal backdrop simultaneously minimalistic and incendiary in its alchemy. NO WAVE OUT is a trailblazing sonic adventure of agitprop verbiage and daring musical spontaneity, stepping into unknown territory with strong links to the past.
Lydia Lunch has defined the underground music and art scene for over thirty years. Predictable only in her unpredictability, she has exploited every creative outlet at her disposal, from film to books, photography to poetry.
—San Francisco Weekly
Umar Bin Hassan is an OG when it comes to spoken word, influencing a generation of MCs and poets as a member of the seminal Last Poets. The group’s albums were incredibly impactful. Tracks like “Niggers Are Scared of Revolution” and “The Mean Machine” were heard on the radio AND on the streets of Black America as they blared from Cadillacs, ill-lit bars and Black bookstore doorways. Today, we hear Hassan’s booming voice on Common and Kanye’s brilliant The Corner, and we can hear his muse flutter all over Kendrick Lamar’s recent rhythmic revolt, To Pimp a Butterfly. Forty-five years after the debut of 1970’s The Last Poets, Brother Umar is still writing, fighting and expressing his pain. Older and wiser, Umar Bin Hassan is still telling it like it is.
Photographs and Video by Jasmine Hirst