Free Liquid

It’s common enough for designer/illustrators to play music too, but not all are as well known as Richard McGuire, who plays bass (and designs) for Liquid Liquid. The group has reunited for a free performance on August 8 at Lincoln Center. The opening act is Rhys Chatham, a composer who wrote a composition for 200 electric guitars. The show starts at 7:30pm.

For those who don’t know Liquid Liquid (below, back in the ’80s; bottom, recently in London), they were a groove-and-dub combo that provided much of the dance-floor soundtrack for the no wave era. The quartet—Scott Hartley, Richard McGuire, Salvatore Principato, and Dennis Young—used texture, rhythm, tension, and empty space to create sound unlike any other; along the way, they produced one of the most recognizable tracks of the era with “Cavern,” a funk-fueled cut with a bassline and vocal hook famously “borrowed” by Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel for “White Lines.”

In 1997, the Beastie Boys’s label, Grand Royal, reissued the combo’s material; by 2003, interest in the band became so strong that the four reformed for a reunion gig at NYC’s Knitting Factory. They recorded “Bellhead” for the DFA label. In 2008, Domino released a deluxe Liquid Liquid compilation of old material and unreleased tracks.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.