#ThrowbackThursday: New Waves

jh0st air
pink skateboard wheels: a dead giveaway that new wave is in the air.

Whether you’re 15 or 50, New Wave is always about adolescence. Adolescence in its most raw, awkward, and optimistic state. New Wave is also a moving target (otherwise it wouldn’t be new). It’s the transitional moment before a band goes ‘pop,’ the shiny day before you graduate from high school, college, your job… and the last straw right before you say f**k off to the old guard.

New wave is also as wide (spanning the polish of Duran Duran to the ‘raw power’ of Iggy pop) as it is deep (echoing the minimalism of Eno to the lushness of the Cocteau Twins). And even as exclusive and cliquey New Wave can get, there’s still something for everyone: Cold Wave, Dark Wave, Synth-Pop, Post-Punk, Post-Rock, Goth, Glam… Instead of staying on track, New Wave bends genres any which way to serve its own means but also bends gender, race, and religion creating a haven for outcasts, geeks, freaks, and anyone that needs a momentary safe-house to find their footing.

The first show I ever saw was Simple Minds on their Sparkle in the Rain tour in 1985. If it wasn’t for fellow witnesses Wili Voritcez, Xopher, Finnegan, and A. Hong, I would have thought I had been transported to a parallel universe of enveloping bass, ambience, and crashing drums. Led by a singer that channeled the ghosts of Jim Morrison and Lou Reed, that night all of us ‘shook off the ghosts‘ of our previous lives and discovered how New Wave can transform one’s cosmos. For myself, I had been trained since I was 6 as a classical pianist and therefore had never had a musical ‘innocence.’ While my first efforts such as Animus, Resonance, and even Statik 1 attempt ‘mature’ musicianship, it wasn’t until years later when I fully embraced the newness of New Wave. Moving on in my archives to the summer of 1991, the songs to follow are a step back into that space of awkward self-discovery and transition. Then again, maybe adolescence isn’t a step back, but a step forward.