The DFA still effortlessly piss all over all other record labels in the cool stakes just like your best friend's cooler older brother did when you were eleven. No matter how much they try, no other label quite manages to nail the maturity combined with experimentalism of a DFA release. Notwave sees them team up with Rong Music to revisit the NY No-Wave scene of the late seventies...
...Only instead of peddling some cuts from thirty years ago we get a fresh batch from current artists. With the exception of a cut from James Chance and the Contortions, one of the bands actually present for the original movement, these bands are drawing inspiration from a scene that passed away years ago but the tracks themselves are all bang-up-to-date.
So you get some nice, spikey, angular rock like the muted 'Unwelcome Guest' from Quad Throw Salchow and Freshro's dark and sexualised cover of Spoon's 'I Turn My Camera On' that just make great, intelligent, pop records. Tim Love Lee turns in two mixes in the form of the free-falling 'No Search No Entry' by Striplight and Circuits' 'Pistols at Dawn'. The former sounds like Republica re imagined as a post-punk roller coaster whilst the later is a throbbing crescendo to a climatic vocal call that results in the record descending into a tribal rock breakdown. Both are utterly fantastic.
Notwave is the DFA's best compilation in ages, possibly ever. Streamlined and beautiful, it boasts a fantastic atmosphere that drags the listener through more sounds, places and genres than you could find in most entire record shops. From clipped dub workouts like Tussle's 'Elephants Meandering' to the dark and evil re imagining of the Peter Gunn theme that is Welcome Stranger's paranoid 'Smoke Machine', Notwave is never less than exhilarating.