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Artist: MARS
Title: Rehearsal Tapes and Alt-Takes NYC 1976-1978
Format: Triple Cass Box
Label: Anomia
Country: Spain
Price: $30.00
"Our first project in a series of archival releases. Over two hours of unreleased recordings by the band Mars (NYC 1977) recovered from the original cassette source. These recordings are of special value because they capture sounds from pre-Mars (when they were called China) sessions up to right before they broke up. Here their sound runs the gamut from piano jams to pummeling and dissonant guitar assaults, the latter of which was certainly ahead of its time and has since functioned as a point of reference for later generations. A selected compilation carefully extracted from hours of tape and studio recordings that have been mastered to suit the cassette tape format in which they were originally recorded." - Anomia. Last copies, these with red covers. LINER NOTES: "Connie Burg and I met Sumner Crane and Nancy Arlen in late 1975 and quickly decided to start a band. Sumner had been playing piano since he was a kid and I trumpet, guitar and more recently bass, but we were for the most part self taught. Connie decided to pick up a guitar and we started jamming in Nancys loft on Broadway and Duane St. where Sumner lived downstairs.

For the first few months it was just piano, bass and acoustic guitar, with some paper bag percussion from Nancy. Our biggest rock influence at the time was Velvet Underground so we started jamming on some of their songs till we found our own. Tape one begins with Sumner alone playing over a Sweet Jane riff with his own blues styled fills, then goes onto Pale Blue Eyes, the first song Connie would sing. Our first original song with Sumners lyrics was Cry, also the only song to make the transition from our acoustic to electric line up. The set ends with a blues jam with Sumner improvising a story about a leather jacket. Here were joined by Jody Harris on guitar, who had been playing with us in the loft for a couple months until Sumner, for practical reasons- given that no clubs had pianos – decided to switch to guitar, at which time Jody gracefully bowed out. Jody: “Yeah, dim memory, being in Sumners loft for the first time – maybe hadnt met him yet. It would have been with Nancy. He was in a back room, hunched over the piano like a spider, playing great rolling two-handed blues and muttering away in the most sinister voice I ever heard. It was like something creeping up on you. So I thought, ok, Toto, this is the real thing.”

So we went electric, and Nancy bought a drum set, after we made a ridiculous attempt to find a drummer via a classified ad in the Village Voice. This must have been around September 76, and we practiced a few more months building a set before asking for a Monday audition slot at CBGBs in January 77. For this we needed a name so we started off calling ourselves China, for reasons nobody seems to remember. Hilly Krystal seemed to appreciate our quirky approach and put us on monthly rotation, which we pretty much stayed on till August 78. However, as wed cranked up the rehearsal volume considerably, Nancys neighbors forced us to find another space. We moved to Donny Christensens place on Warren Street, just a few blocks away, where the Cramps and others were already installed.

There we met Lydia Lunch and James Chance, who were squatting next door, and soon started playing together there as well, in Teenage Jesus. This period is well represented by a complete rehearsal set on Tape 1 Side B, although the tape was marked Mars, so it must have been just after we changed our name. Summer 77 was another turning point, as our sound matured we started to experiment more with song forms, dissonance and disassociation, the first example probably being 11000 Volts, several versions of which are on Tape 2, Side A, from towards the end of that year. We were still playing some of our earlier songs in mutated versions, but moving further and further away from our leftfield homespun NY “pop” to some darker unexplored place, guided as always by Sumner.

The next side is taken from a cassette I carried away from the recording session for No New York, with alternate takes and rough Eno mixes of the same four songs on the album. Dont remember much of this session but it does away with the notion that we were a one take recording band, though all takes were recorded live with no overdubs. Sometime in Spring 78 we moved again, to a duplex on Delancey Street where Lydia was living and rehearsing, and our sound continued to evolve, or devolve, with detuned guitars and bass, warped rhythms and more of Sumners unique words and madness.Tape 3 begins with the period right after No New York, with some of the same songs, and others, like Cairo, which were never recorded in studio. Around this time we played at Irving Plaza, in August 78, taped by Eno and released recently on LP, but in rehearsals we were looser, more internalized and often drew the songs out longer.

The first side unfortunately is cut off in the middle of a song that I have no recollection of. Side B is from our last month or so of existence, probably just before we played our last gig at Maxs Kansas City in December, as well as our last recording session forthe Mars EP, soon after. By then wed made our final migration, to an office in the American Thread Building, back in Tribeca again still some time before gentrification. The building was empty at night and inhabited by ghosts of dead garment workers that we channeled in our final electric gasps.

Please excuse all abrupt endings, lo-fi sound and dropouts, its what was left on the tapes once I dug them out of various boxes after years of hibernation. Keep in mind almost all were recorded on pre walkman desktop mono cassette recorders, which nevertheless had a warm condensed sound, faithfully transmitting the atmosphere of those turbulent long gone but thankfully not forgotten times in late 70s Manhattan."- Mark Cunningham, Barcelona 2012. Very highly recommended!
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Artist: MARS
Title: 78+
Format: CD
Label: Atavistic
Country: USA
Price: $13.50
"Crucial document of this seminal NYC band from the late 70s, considered by many in retrospect to be the most influential no wave band from the era. A quartet of Sumner Crane, China Burg, Mark Cunningham & Nancy Arlen, they recorded revolutionary EPs for Ze and Lust/Unlust, as well as contributing to the infamous No New York LP." - FE. "To the uninitiated, Mars may sound like listening to a laundromat magnified. Thats 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." --Stella Doon, 1977.

Artist: MARS
Title: Live At Artists Space
Format: LP
Label: Feeding Tube
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"In May of 1978, there was a five-night music festival at Artists Space on Hudson Street in Tribeca. Although almost no one cared at the time, the event has since entered the halls of legend, as one of the signal events in the history of the no wave era -- one that managed to include both the Lower East Side bands and those fronted by their Western contemporaries. On the final night of the festival, the two bands playing were Mars and Teenage Jesus And The Jerks. What we are presenting to you today are both sets by Mars -- the most mysterious, and bizarrely-styled NY band of their day. One set takes up each side, and while they are similar in song selection, its wild to hear how different they are in terms of attack, sonics and approach. The quartet -- Nancy Arlen, China Burg, Sumner Crane, Mark Cuningham -- was never captured at its mutational best in the studio, but this live slab is revelatory. Tunings, structures and rhythms from a place Capt. Beefheart once called "the other side of the fence," this is Mars at their most glorious." -Feeding Tube.
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Artist: MARS
Title: Live at Irving Plaza
Format: LP
Label: Feeding Tube
Country: USA
Price: $23.00
"The second volume of live Mars recordings from Feeding Tube. This one was recorded at the bands penultimate show, August 4, 1978, with spectral help from Rudolph Grey on the side-long take of "NN End." The quartet is at the full height of their power here, manipulating the language of tongue explosions both instrumentally and vocally. Recorded by Brian Eno, the sound is an advance from the galacto-fidelity of the Artists Space LP, and the performance is a staggering example of Mars in their final phase. This is a stunning example of the No Wave impulse in its most experimental and personal guise. The package also includes a download card for both Mars FTR LPs, as well as a 20-page booklet, "Mars As We Know It," which is an oral history of the band assembled by Byron Coley and Thurston Moore from interviews conducted for their No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980. book. Issued in an edition of 500 copies, Live at Irving Plaza is a beautiful souvenir of a woefully under-documented band." -Feeding Tube.

Artist: MARS
Title: Mars Archives Volume One: China to Mars
Format: LP
Label: Feeding Tube
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"Following the success of the two live LPs bookending Marss trajectory through the skies of NYC, Mark Cunningham was convinced to return to his legendary box of cassettes. Even he was surprised to discover the bands earliest shows (done under the name China) were there, amidst a tumble of other tapes. Thus, the idea was born for a trilogy of LPs tracing Marss development from their first audition gig at CBGB through the shows following their 1980 Lust/Unlust EP. China to Mars is the first volume, and really displays for the first time how much the bands earliest music was a mutated variation on some of NYCs extant juggernauts, in particular Television and the Patti Smith Group. While their sound was clearly their own, the textures and techniques theyre using to achieve them are far less alien than theyd become. Side one was recorded at Chinas audition night at CBGB in Feb. 77, and their follow-up show in June. Its amazing how good it sounds. And the songs are almost all unheard (apart from Cry, which appeared on the 2012 Anòmia tape box). Even "3E" is nearly unrecognizable from its released version recorded the following year. The second side is from Sept. 77, once they had started calling themselves Mars. The shuddering blocks of sound for which they are known are beginning to coalesce, and Sumners dark vocals are pushed to the fore. The music is stunning. You can hear the band on the very cusp of transforming itself into the group that recorded those incredible early sides. Wow, cant wait for the next two volumes" - Byron Coley, 2015. Edition of 800.

Artist: MARS
Title: Mars Archives Volume Two: 11000 Volts to Tunnel
Format: LP
Label: Feeding Tube
Country: USA
Price: $20.00
"The second amazing volume (of three), compiled by Mark Cunningham after culling every known live tape of Mars, documents the band in its first fully-matured form. Recorded at CBGB and Maxs in the early months of 1978, this captures the sound of Mars around the time their first single, “3E/11000 Volts,” was released by the French Rebel label (a precursor of ZE). Theyre still playing their early songs, and working out the material that would be on No New York (LR 102CD/LP). Two of the tracks (“Cairo” and “RTMT”) were never released in any form back in the day, and the whole album surges along like one of the weirdest rock rides anybody has ever imagined. There are still small tendrils of the more formal approach Mars took in their earliest days, but the function of the material is on its way to becoming utterly alien. Even though I saw the band around this time, the incredible strangeness of their approach is astonishing. Words fail me. No one else has ever created anything quite like the wall of sound they managed. On the second side, as an added bonus, the audience source tape is full of hooting and hollering by people like Lydia Lunch, Bradley Field, Kristian Hoffman, and various other reprobates with whom they were sharing rehearsal space at the time. Package looks great, too. Grainy, just the way it should be. Has an insert with brief notes by Mark, a couple of pics and handwritten lyrics that read better than Id ever imagined them to be. Essential stuff." — Byron Coley, 2016. Edition of 500.

Artist: MARS
Title: The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978
Format: LP
Label: Important
Country: USA
Price: $18.00
"Mars Complete Studio Recordings is a hand- numbered limited edition one time vinyl pressing of 1000 copies. Mars was formed in late 1975, the first of the bands included later on the No New York compilation. Between January 77 and December 78 they played thirty or so gigs without leaving Manhattan and recorded a total of 32-minutes of music, spread over three discs, now available for the first time in its entirety on this collection, originally released by Mars member Mark Cunningham as a CD in Barcelona, and now as a limited, numbered vinyl edition." - Important.
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Artist: MARS
Title: Mars LP: The Complete Studio Recordings NYC 1977-1978
Format: CD
Label: No More
Country: USA
Price: $15.00
"The Mars LP is the definitive collection of the 32 minutes of studio recordings released between 1977 and 1979 on vinyl by the first of the no wave bands. Supervised by the surviving members, remastered from original sources without any added effects, and packaged with detailed notes and lyrics, the Mars LP is an effort to recuperate the groups legacy and make up for the unavailability of these tracks in their original sound." "Static transmissions from a distant dark star. Taking up and tripping out further than the Velvet Undergrounds Black Angel Death Song , Mars punished not with blunt force, but with a propulsive agitation which signaled a neurological insanity. A crippled tension swathed in nervous friction. A cavernous musical universe riddled with eerie sound storms whose poisoned atmosphere seduced and threatened. Obtuse and unforgiving. Sickly sexy. Red noise redefining bass urges, forcing the listener to question their own sanity by drilling into ear holes using electroshock guitars as saw blades trepanning into grey matter. Mars unleashed a choking cacophony illustrating the body as machine in disrepair fuelled by the impending repulsion and disintegration of a perverse romance with ones own demons. Demons who once wrenched free, made mimicry of the jangling nerve centers, and given voice as song, turned schizophrenic and howled these testimonials to the unbearable." -- Lydia Lunch. "[note: Mars LP is the title, but this is a CD only release]. Includes their first single on Rebel/Ze, the No New York tracks, the Mars EP on Lust/Unlust -- their complete discography. This CD should be considered as an alternative to the still-valid Mars 78+ CD on Atavistc -- this one features all the original recordings as intended, with all the Thirlwell sound reprocessing of the Atavistic CD eliminated." - FE.
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