UT : Ut 12" (1984)

UT Live
Ut Ad
Finally... the mighty Ut, possibly the final ensemble from the original No Wave era whose influence & importance has yet to be adequately addressed, & one of the finest too.

Forming in 1978, they'd already racked up 5 long years' worth of performances on the NYC underground & worked through a number of line-ups before releasing this eponymous debut 12" (their first appearance on vinyl). Recorded at Brixton's Cold Storage & self-released in 1984 on their own Out label (to resounding critical indifference), you'll no doubt recognise the fantastic "Sham Shack" as Soul Jazz included it on one of their New York Noise compilations. The 3 other pieces here are just are startling, perhaps more so - all seem daunting & impenetrable initially but utterly timeless in retrospect. I only ever actually saw a copy for sale once, in Nottingham's Selectadisc in the late 80s, which I immediately bought & have hung onto through thick & thin, it's such a great, great record. Tantalisingly, Ut completed an even earlier EP for Charles Ball's semi-mythic Lust/Unlust label prior to it's abrupt collapse - c'mon Soul Jazz, get it sorted!

Relocating from New York to London in the early 80s, encouraged by the patronage of Mark E Smith & The Birthday Party amongst others, Ut eventually hooked up with Paul Smith's pivotal Blast Label to release a handful of extraordinary LPs (In Gut's House = masterpiece) before finally calling it a day in 1990. I was fortunate enough to see them them live on a handful of occasions in the mid-80s & it's fair to say that they made absolutely no concessions on stage - swapping instruments, teetering on the brink of a liberating chaos, dissecting & spitting out their ferocious, primal guitar-scraping abstractions to disconcerted, slack jawed crowds who'd much rather have been watching The Flatmates. Ut were "interested in collapsing the divide between song & free improvisation... Most songs came from improvisation & contained aspects of the free even when they became solidified". Though they'd appear at the outset to be freely, & somewhat awkwardly, improvising, the realisation would gradually dawn that, actually, the songs they were playing had been meticulously arranged to sound that way: fractured, forensic, remote & slightly cantankerous.

So, the good news is that (i) Ut performed together, unannounced, in London earlier this year for the first time in 2 decades, supporting Dial (Jacqui Ham's current outfit) at The Luminaire, & (ii) they're about to play several more shows on America's East Coast. Make the effort to see them if you get the chance, they're one of my all-time favourite bands (though it seems slightly churlish to refer to them merely as "a band") & still sound like nothing else on Earth.

P.S. If anybody reading this has Ut's Live 1981 cassette on Out please get in touch.


  1. I know somebody who can help you out...
    Ut y'self fitter!

  2. Throw me a bone then, you cheeky so-&-so...!

  3. Cheeky? You'll ut those words one day. I am simply acting as a matchmaker, a digital fiddler on a virtual roof. Here's your new best friend:

  4. Ah! I've made contact with Andrea Warped already, fingers crossed I might finally get to hear that elusive tape shortly...

  5. Anonymous30.10.10

    i love you and yr blog
    what art's on top, i always wonder

  6. Thanks for taking time to comment, it's always good to know that somebody out there is actually reading this stuff! x

  7. Rob Smith2.11.10

    New York Trio UT play a rare handful of concerts starting at the ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn as part of a three-day event : “Theoretical Music: No Wave, New Music, and the New York Art Scene, 1978-1983” organized by art historian Branden W. Joseph and musician David Grubbs.
    Friday 05 November @ 8:00pm - Theoretical Music: UT + Talk Normal
    The (OA) Can Factory, 232 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215

    UT will be playing further dates :
    Sun 7 Nov - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's - maxwellsnj.com
    Mon 8 Nov - Providence, RI - AS220 - as220.org
    Weds 10 Nov - Allston, MA - Great Scott - greatscottboston.com

    Rob Smith, guitarist with Dial

  8. Excellent news, Rob... hope Ut make it back to the UK again a.s.a.p.?

    Would be great to see Dial again soon too, really enjoyed The Luminaire show, any chance of more dates over here?

  9. We'd like to, i'll let you know. Regards..

  10. Yep, please keep us posted (thanks).

    I don't suppose you recorded your Luminaire set by any chance, would love to hear it again...?

  11. yeah we did, we're working on it

  12. hey there,

    still searching for that Live, Nov. '81-K7 ?? i have it and its about to go on sale so ... how do i contact u??

    c ya, Yvan

  13. Hey Ivan, managed to find a v.good rip of Live '81 in the end, but many thanks for the offer... You say it's "about to go on sale" - do you mean Ut are going to reissue it? if so, that's great news...

  14. hey,

    no, planning on selling some items from my collection, UT being one of 'em. good news u found a rip. going to do so before it gets sold.

    keep well, Yvan

  15. Hmm, are you selling through Discogs/eBay?

  16. hey again,

    Discogs, a good friend of mine has a small label (EETapes) and a has web-shop there. we decided it would b best to put 'em up at his place. and some r already advertised here; http://andthensheliedagain.blogspot.com/. the blog-owner is a friend of mine and we thought it a good idea to advertise at his place.

    hope this helps.

    c ya, Yvan

  17. th' right channel drops out in th' second song for a bit and then is completely blank for th' third and fourth tracks. any chance of a new rip?

    also - are ya thinkin' of upping th' 1981 live tape? been lookin' for that myself!

  18. Can't help you, re: a better rip of the 12", I'm afraid. That's how it was sent to me, plus I hear it's going to be (finally) reissued around the time of their upcoming European tour anyway?

    Yep, I've got the Live '81 tape & will upload it as soon as I can confirm they're not re-releasing it themselves... OK?

  19. Anonymous2.1.12

    Hi, I have a 320k rip of the ep, made from my vinyl. Can I trade you for a link to the Live cassette? I'd really love to hear that tape. Cheers, r. notnotrob at g mail dot com

  20. Could do I guess, both the EP & the cassette (with lots of extra material) are being reissued very shortly though...

  21. Anonymous3.1.12

    Yes, I'm excited about the reissues, surprised if the tape is included. Hope the aborted Lust/Unlust ep stuff will be released. Looking fwd to whatever they come up with.

    Would still love to hear the tape now; here's the s/t ep for you:


    Cheers. notnotrob

  22. Hi,
    Did the cassette get re-released? If yes you could please tell me the title of the re-release, I don't seem to be able to find it. Cheers.

  23. Not yet. The entire UT back catalogue is (still) scheduled for re-release this year, c/o Robert Hampson's Reactor label. Each album will have an additional disc of outtakes & rarities, including the Live 1981 cassette...