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New York City 1980​-​1984

by John Zieman

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Limited Vinyl Record
    Edition of 300
    Distributed by Boomkat
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Victor 6 02:34


"For their inaugural release, confuso editions (NYC / Rio de Janeiro) ventures into the furthest realms of outsider pop with this compilation of John Zieman’s archival tapes, ‘New York City 1980-1984’. A student of electronic synthesis at Hampshire College, Zieman’s interest in digital media brought him to NYC in the late 70s, where he worked with downtown artists including Nam June Paik, John Sanborn, and Dara Birnbaum — Birnbaum’s epochal 1983 video ‘Damnation of Faust: Evocation’ features Zieman’s song ‘Flying Nine (Dara)’, released in ‘New York City 1980-1984’ for the first time. In Birnbaum’s video, Zieman’s angular zolo rhythm and shadowy synth melodies soundtrack the quiet tragedy of a gentrifying SoHo playground. A still from Evocation is used as the cover for the ‘New York City 1980-1984’, a testament to the decades of collaboration between John and Dara.

In April of 1980, Zieman began working at Intergalactic Studios in Manhattan, where he took up residence in the studio’s bathroom, using soundproofing foam as a bed in a demolished stall. During this period, Zieman began composing on the studio’s Fairlight CMI synthesizer-sampler. Over the following seven months, working commercially by day and recording by night, Zieman produced the tracks which would become the basis for ‘New York City 1980-1984’.

Zieman distilled 80s midtown sleaze into these 11 tracks — ‘New York City 1980-1984’ compiles the digi-saxophones, drum machines, and listless ballads which Zieman used to navigate the cracks between sub-genres. The compilation stands out as an uncanny reflection of New Wave, at once rooted in its time and place and yet deeply singular. Across the twilight of a smoke-filled bar, Zieman’s edgy synths fix us with a thousand-yard stare, hungry sounds from the wrong side of Port Authority: ‘can I go back to sleep?’ confuso revives these overlooked hypnagogic gems in New York City 1980-1984, which shine across the decades like a streetlight in a snowstorm.” - Joshua Daube


released October 28, 2020

© 2020, John Zieman. All rights reserved.
All songs written, produced, and mixed by John Zieman between 1980 and 1984.

Guitar on “Leave You In The Park” by Frank Finley.
Bass on “Something In The Way” by Howie Zow.

Mastered by Ben Greenberg.

Cover art by Dara Birnbaum. Damnation of Faust: Evocation, 1983. © Dara Birnbaum. Courtesy of Dara Birnbaum and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.

Interior art by John Zieman.

Design by Josh Abramovici.

Edition of 300 LP copies distributed by Boomkat.


all rights reserved



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