Name: Martin Bisi
From: Brooklyn, NY
Genrepost-rock, psychedelic, indie, no-wave



Martin Bisi


Drink Your Wine
Son Of A Gun (2009)
Dir: Lance Kruger
Starring: Martin Bisi, Margot Carr, Justina Flash
filmed at The American Can Factory in Park Slope Brooklyn

Goth Chick ’98
Sirens Of the Apocalypse (2008)
Dir: Jim Spring
Starring: Rebecca Moore, Helena Prezio, Billy Atwell, Margot Carr, Paco, Virginia Mesones, Victor Piedrahita, Chloe Atwell

As a performer and record producer in New York City, Martin Bisi has been at a crossroads of indie/punk, avant garde, noir/cabaret rock, and electronic music since the early 80’s. At a studio he started with Brian Eno in Brooklyn, he has realized albums by Sonic Youth, Swans, John Zorn, Africa Bambaataa, The Dresden Dolls, Herbie Hancock’s Rockit, Boredoms, Helmet, White Zombie, Cop Shoot Cop, Jon Spencer’s Boss Hog, Material/Bill Laswell, Foetus, Serena Maneesh and others. He has also contributed to albums by Iggy Pop and The Ramones. In live performances, he combines heavier post-rock psychedelia with upbeat story-telling indie fare, and unique sound layering.

Bisi is readying a new release for 2012, titled Ex Nihilo – Latin for “out of nothing”. A darker tone dominates the new release, compared to ’08’s Sirens Of The Apocalypse and ’09’s Son Of A Gun EP -more an exploration of the psyche, with cathartic resolution. “Ex Nihilo” means “from, or out of nothing” -usually used in reference to creation by artists or God. The opening track “Suffer The Moon”, is a return to the ritualistic quality of his 1988 album Creole Mass. With this new recording, Bisi continues his history of sonic excess in the studio, which can be ambient and disorienting – as with the art-noise of Sonic Youth, or the industrial sensibilities of Swans and Foetus.

Bisi began his story in the downtown-meets-uptown scene of New York in the late 70’s, where hip hop from The Bronx coexisted with avant garde experimentalism, the punk/glam of CBGB’s, New Wave art-rock, and aggressive, nihilistic No Wave. In this world Bisi met Brian Eno who helped him start a recording studio in 1981, and he has since covered all these areas in his work.

Martin Bisi was born in 1961 to Argentinian parents and grew up in Manhattan. His mother was a concert pianist who specialized in Liszt and Chopin and toured extensively, and his father played tango-style piano as a hobby. Bisi was sent to French school, given a lot of music lessons and made to go regularly to the NY Philharmonic and the opera. He rebelled against all of these – it was the 60’s after all – and developed a disdain for academically accepted music, never fully embracing the instruments he was made to study. The 60’s were a vibrant time in New York City, and the energized youth culture that Bisi saw instilled in him a fascination with the social role of music. By 1975, at age 14, Bisi was doing graffiti on NY’s streets and subways. His first tag was “Alive In 75” , but he switched to “TagE” the next year.

This first experience in anti-art inspired interest in the anti-music of avant-garde noise and downtown no-wave bands around ’79-’80. Bisi soon met John Zorn and Bill Laswell, both older than himself, at a rehearsal/ performance space. Instinctively drawn in, he threw himself into doing live, then studio, sound. Soon Bisi and Laswell got a loft space in a frontier-zone of Brooklyn where multiple musicians lived and rehearsed. Bisi started acquiring recording equipment, and then in late ’80, Laswell and Bisi met Brian Eno. Eno had taken an interest in NY’s no-wave scene and was coming regularly to see Laswell’s band Material. At one show, Eno stood by the board and watched Bisi do sound; at the end of the set, he proposed they meet the next day. Soon the idea of Eno helping Laswell and Bisi create a viable recording space in Brooklyn was formed. In January ’81, Bisi had the first real recording session of his life, with Brian Eno. Those recordings found their way into Eno’s ambient series of releases, notably On Land. He named the studio OAO for “Operation All Out”, copped from William Burroughs’ novel Naked Lunch. Much ground-breaking avant-garde music started to flow out of OAO.

Simultaneously, Bisi and the Material crew were going to the Roxy roller rink in Manhattan on Friday nights, where the Bronx based hip-hop nation would make it’s weekly downtown in-roads. Material, which had become engrossed in studio experimentation, soon started recording hip-hop, and in ’82 Herbie Hancock proposed that they make a hip-hop track for him to play keyboard over. Bisi and Material soon recorded the song “Rockit.” It became the first top 40 song to feature scratching, and won Hancock a Grammy in ’84. All this action in hip-hop, including work with Afrika Bambaata, drew Sonic Youth to Bisi, and they sought him out specifically as a hip-hop producer for their records Evol and Bad Moon Rising. Around this time Bisi broke off with Laswell and Material, but he kept the studio and re-named it BC Studio. The studio flourished, recording nascent indie rock acts as well as industrial and more aggressive fare. Notorious avant-rock provocateurs Foetus, Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, Live Skull, Unsane and Alice Donut all did multiple recordings with Bisi.

In ’88 Material was intermittently re-formed as a production team, and was sought out by The Ramones, Iggy Pop and White Zombie. They produced many notable World Music recordings as well, including a Ginger Baker solo album (Middle Passage), and a Material album (The Road To The Western Lands) which put some William Burroughs’ readings into an electro-world context. Around ’90, John Zorn, now a major avant garde icon tapped Bisi to record many albums of himself and for his label, most notably: Zorn’s Spy vs. Spy, Naked City’s Torture Garden, and The Boredom’s Wow2. The late 90’s brought projects to BC Studio with a distinct Eastern European flavor such as Barbez, culminating in the near mainstream success of The Dresden Dolls in ’03. In ’05, shoegazer sensations Serena Maneesh mixed their debut at BC Studio to widespread acclaim.

Bisi has recorded and released six albums and EP’s of his original work since the late 80s.

Ex Nihilo (Forthcoming , 2013)
Sirens Of The Apocalypse (Black Freighter Records, 2008)
Milkyway of Love – Martin Bisi y El Cochino (Stripmine Recordings, 1999)
Dear Papi, I’m In Jail – Martin Bisi y Las Cochinas (EP- New Alliance/SST, 1996)
See Ya In Tijuana – Martin Bisi y Las Cochinas (EP- New Alliance/SST, 1994)
All Will Be Won (New Alliance/SST, 1993)
Creole Mass (New Alliance/SST, 1988)

Material – American Songs (EP- Celluloid) 1981
Material w. Nona Hendrix – Bustin’ Out (12″- Celluloid) 1981
John Zorn – Archery (Parachute) 1981
Massacre – Killing Time (Celluloid) 1981
Material- Memory Serves (Elektra Musician) 1981
Material – Temporary Music (Red Records) 1981
Brian Eno – Ambient 4: On Land [recorded] (Polydor) 1982
Fab Five Freddy – Change The Beat (Celluloid) 1982
Material – One Down (Elektra) 1982
John Zorn – Yankees (Celluloid) 1982
Bill Laswell – Baselines (Elektra Musician) 1983
Herbie Hancock – Future Shock [recorded] (CBS/Sony) 1983
John Zorn – Locus Solus (Rift) 1983
Nona Hrendrix – Nona [recorded] (RCA) 1983
Don King (arto Lindsay) – One Two Punch (Knockout) (Atavistic) 1983
Afrika Bambaata – Shango Message (12″- Carrere) 1983
V Effect – Stop Those Songs (Rift) 1983
The Golden Palominos – The Golden Palominos (Celluloid) 1983
Elliott Sharp – Carbon (Atonal Records) 1984
Curlew – Curlew (Landslide Records) 1984
The Ambitious Lovers (Arto Lindsay) – Envy [recorded/mixed] (Editions EG) 1984
David Moss – Full House (Moers Music) 1984
Temper – No Favors (12″- MCA Records) 1984
Sonic Youth – Bad Moon Rising (Homestead Records) 1985
Sonic Youth (w.Lydia Lunch) – Death Valley ’69 (12″- Blast First) 1985
Rat At Rat R – Rock And Roll Is Dead, Long Live Rat At At R (Neutral) 1985
Curlew – North America (Moers Music) 1985
Live Skull – Cloud One (Homestead Records) 1986
Sonic Youth – EVOL (SST Records) 1986
Elliott Sharp – Fractal (Dossier) 1986
Ciccone Youth (Sonic Youth) – Into The Groove(y) / Burnin’ Up (12″- Blast First) 1986
Sonic Youth – Starpower (12″- Blast First) 1986
Jim Jarmusch – Music For The Film: Down By Law [recorded/mixed](Criterion) 1986
Blind Idiot God – Blind Idiot God (SST Records) 1987
Rammellzee – Death Command (12″- 4th & Broadway) 1987
Phantom Tollbooth – One way Conversation (Homestead Records) 1987
Sonic Youth – MASTER-DIK / Beat On The Brat (12″- Blast First) 1987
Pig (JG Thirlwell) – A Poke In The Eye…With A Sharp Stick [mixed] (Wax Trax!) 1988
Iggy Pop – Instinct [engineered] (A&M Records) 1988
Last Exit (Bill Laswell-Sonny Sharrock-Ronald Shannon Jackson) – Iron Path (Virgin) 1988
Ben Neill – Mainspring (Ear-Rational Records) 1988
Foetus – Thaw [recorded/mixed] (Rough Trade) 1988
Lydia Lunch/Thurston Moore – The Crumb (Widowspeak Productions) 1988
Live Skull – Snuffer (What Goes On Records) 1988
Spiral Jetty – Dogstar (Absolute A Go Go Records) 1989
White Zombie – Make Them Die Slowly [recorded/mixed] (Caroline Records) 1989
Live Skull – Positraction (Caroline) 1989
Material (w.William Burroughs) – Seven Souls (Virgin Records) 1989
John Zorn – Spy Vs. Spy: The Music Of Ornette Coleman (Elektra Musician) 1989
Swans – The Burning World (UNI Records) 1989
Naked City – Torture Garden (Shimmy Disc) 1989
Ball (w. Kramer) – Trouble Doll [mixed] (Shimmy Disc) 1989
Foetus – Sink (Some Bizzare) 1989
Cop Shoot Cop – Consumer Revolt (Circuit Records) 1990
Maceo Parker – For All The King’s Men [recorded] (4th & B’way Records) 1990
Bootsy Collins – Jungle Bass [recorded] (4th & B’way/Island) 1990
Ginger Baker – Middle Passage (Axiom) 1990
Arto Lindsay And Peter Scherer – Pretty Ugly [recorded/mixed] (Made To Measure) 1990
EMF – I Believe (Remix- Parlophone) 1991
Material – The Third Power (Axiom) 1991
Cop Shoot Cop – White Noise (Big Cat UK Records) 1991
Boredoms – Wow2 [recorded/mixed] (Avant) 1992
Swans – Love Of Life (Young God Records) 1992
Foetus – Male (Big Cat UK Records) 1992
Murder inc. (w. Chris Connelly and Jim Thirlwell) – Corpuscle (Invisible) 1992
Silverfish – Organ Fan (Creation Records) 1992
Jarboe (from Swans) – Red (Sky Records) 1992
Cop Shoot Cop – Ask Questions Later (Interscope) 1993
Ciccone Youth – The Whitey Album (Geffen Records) 1993
Motherhead Bug – Zambodia (Pow Wow Records) 1993
Boss Hog (w.Jon Spencer) – Girl+ (EP- Amphetamine Reptile) 1993
Material – Hallucination Engine (Axiom/Island) 1994
Swans – The Great Annihilator (Young God) 1994
Unsane – Total Destruction (Matador) 1994
Helmet – Betty [recorded/mixed] (Interscope) 1994
Lubricated Goat – Forces You Don’t Understand (PCP Entertainment) 1994
Alice Donut – Nadine (single- Alternative Tentacles) 1994
Alice Donut – Dry Humping The Cash Cow (Alternative Tentacles) 1994
Ruins – Hyderomastgroningem (Tzadik) 1995
Foetus – Thaw (Thirsty Ear) 1995
Ultra Bide – God Is God, Puke Is Puke (Alternative Tentacles) 1995
Alice Donut – Pure Acid Park (Alternative Tentacles) 1995
Fred Frith – Allies [recorded/mixed] (RecRec Music) 1996
Body Lovers (Michael Gira) – Number One Of Three (Atavistic) 1998
Bill laswell And Peter Brotzman – Low Life (Charly Schallplatten GmbH) 1998
Bill Laswell – Hear No Evil (Meta Records) 1999
Death Ambient (w.Fred Frith) – Synæsthesia (Tzadik) 1999
Angels Of Light (Michael Gira) – New Mother Fringecore 1999
Cibo Matto – Stereo Type A [recorded] (Warner Bros.) 1999
U.S. Maple – Talker [recorded/mixed] (Drag City) 1999
Ex Models – Zoo Psychology (X-Mist Records) 2001
Clem Snide – The Ghost Of Fashion [recorded] (spinArt) 2001
Fred Frith – Music For The Film: Step Across The Border [recorded] (ReR Megacorp) 2002
Angels Of Light (Michael Gira) – Everything Is Good Here (Young God Records) 2003
The Flesh – The Flesh (Gern Blandsten) 2004
The Dresden Dolls – The Dresden Dolls (Roadrunner) 2004
Serena Maneesh – Serena Maneesh [mixed] (Honymilk Records) 2005
Barbez – Insignificance (Important) 2005
Dysrhythmia – Barriers And Passages (Relapse Records) 2006
Dan Kaufman – Force Of Light (Tzadik -Radical Jewish Music Series) 2007
Alice Donut – Fuzz (Howler Records) 2007
Beat Circus – Dreamland (Cuneiform Records) 2008
Black Fortress Of Opium – Black Fortress Of Opium (Afyonkarahisar) 2008


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