V/A Instant This / Instant That: NY NY 1978–1985 2xLP
A survey of female-forward downtown New York sounds centered on twin sisters Ellen and Lynda Kahn, who skewered material pop culture as the video art/no wave duo TWINART, along with contributions from a handful of like-minded local peers who were also blurring the distinctions between the city’s visual art and underground music scenes in the ’70s and ’80s. Instant This / Instant That starts with (and takes its title from) a one-off recording by the Kahn sisters’ first band TASTE TEST, from a flexi that came with a 1979 issue of the Chicago-based zine Praxis—it’s a delirious collision of busted synth squiggle, primitive Whac-A-Mole beats, and breathless call-and-response chants about polyester, microwaves, and “shiny shit” as they romp through the detritus of the modern convenience lifestyle. As TWINART, the Kahns would venture even further into exploring the possibilities of electronic textures and manipulations, from art-damaged minimal wave (there’s echoes of ALGEBRA SUICIDE in the stark layering of handclaps and spoken word in “Hands On Hands Off”), to skeletal bass/drum machine art-punk clatter (“Trashy Fashions”), while keeping TASTE TEST’s B-52’S-level fixation with consumerist kitsch in place. The snapshot of the TWINART inner circle is fleshed out with the DANCE, who lend the unreleased demo “Dream On” (showcasing them at their most straight new wave) and the 1982 breakneck mutant art-funk B-side “You Got to Know,” with heads of DANCE Eugenie Diserio and Steve Alexander joining TWINART for the retrofuturist synth-wave sleaze of “Double Shot of Love,” plus three tracks from performance artist JILL KROESEN (including her PATTI SMITH-gone-no wave 1980 single “I Really Want to Bomb You”), and two offerings from multimedia artist JULIA HEYWARD (the rhythmic, almost BUSH TETRAS-esque “Gassum,” and the electronic sound poetry drone of “Keep Moving Buddy”). Weird, wild, and wonderful.