Thursday, February 24, 2022 by DJ Uncertain #art

Barbara Ess



Celebrating Barbara Ess (1948–2021), American musician and photographer. In the late 1970s and 1980s Ess was a member of early No Wave bands The Static, Y Pants, Disband, and Ultra Vulva and produced the publication Just Another Asshole with Glenn Branca. In 1982 she contributed tracks to the first issue of Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine. In 2001, Ess collaborated with experimental filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh on the album Radio/Guitar for Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label:

"It's a thrilling vision - not because it glorifies the familiar, but because it animates the unknown. Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, who, with Thurston Moore and Guy Armstrong, contributes texts to her monograph, says Ess belongs to "a curious breed: the ones determined to understand more than the visible, the ones fearless enough to believe that the world is made up not only of more than we can see but of more than we might want to imagine." She is, he concludes, plotting "an astronomy of the invisible". He might say much the same of her collaboration with Ahwesh. Radio/Guitar sifts through sonic detritus for signs of life and stumbles on another dimension. It may be a house of the spirits or a tower of Babel in some far insect realm. It doesn't matter. What makes this record remarkable - moving, even - is its fresh sense of absence, its longing for meaning and the ingenuity with which that longing is expressed. Not a word of explanation. Not one single hint. The imagination is invisible." — The Wire, 2002

Tracklist: The Static (Barbara Ess, Glenn Branca, Christine Hahn, Chip Dyke), Live performance from "135 Grand Street, New York, 1979" / Y Pants (Beat It Down, 1998) / Radio/Guitar (2001) / Two short pieces by Ess on the cassette "Phobia," produced by Magenta Plains (2019)

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