Arto Lindsay

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Arto Lindsay
Arto lindsay 05N3601.jpg
Arto Lindsay at Moers Festival in 2010
Background information
Birth nameArthur Morgan Lindsay
Born (1953-05-28) May 28, 1953 (age 66)
OriginRichmond, Virginia, U.S.
GenresNo wave, noise, avant-garde jazz, MPB
Occupation(s)Composer, musician, record producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
LabelsZE, Righteous Babe
Associated actsDNA, The Golden Palominos, The Lounge Lizards, Ambitious Lovers

Arthur Morgan "Arto" Lindsay (born May 28, 1953) is an American guitarist, singer, record producer and experimental composer.[1] He first achieved recognition as part of New York no wave group DNA in the late 1970s.

He has a distinctive soft voice and an often noisy, self-taught guitar style consisting almost entirely of extended techniques, described by Brian Olewnick as "studiedly naïve ... sounding like the bastard child of Derek Bailey".[2] His guitar work is contrasted frequently with gentler, sensuous Brazilian music themes.


Although Lindsay was born in the United States, he spent many years in Brazil with his missionary parents, Art and Anne Lindsay. He grew up during the Tropicália, which included musicians Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Os Mutantes, and Gilberto Gil, as well as the visual artists Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, and Antonio Dias. This time of cultural experimentation and artistic cross-pollination made a lasting impact on him.

Arto Lindsay, mœrs festival 2010

In New York City, Lindsay began his artistic ambitions as a writer but quickly became interested in the art and music scenes that were evolving out punk rock. In the late 1970s, he helped form the no wave band DNA with Ikue Mori and Robin Crutchfield, although Tim Wright of Pere Ubu soon replaced Crutchfield. In 1978, DNA was featured on the four-band sampler No New York (produced by Brian Eno) which brought an early taste of international notoriety to the group and which became the essential document of No Wave. Rock critic Lester Bangs called the group's ritualistic vocals and deliberately primitive, shredding guitar "horrible noise".[citation needed]

In the early 1980s, Lindsay performed on early albums by The Lounge Lizards and The Golden Palominos. These groups destroyed distinctions between rock, pop, improvisation, and avant-garde music.[citation needed] After Lindsay becoming friends with John Zorn, he played in several of Zorn's bands, including Locus Solus.

After the Lounge Lizards, Lindsay and keyboardist Peter Scherer formed the Ambitious Lovers, influenced by pop, samba, and bossa nova. In an interview with Bomb magazine, Linsday said, "the whole idea was Al Green and samba. That against this; this against that; not a blend, a juxtaposition, loud/soft. There's no particular point in putting these things together. The point is what comes out in the end."[3]

The band's three albums, Greed, Envy,[4] and Lust, were Lindsay's entry into a major record label. But the band's experimental music was ignored by fans in the mainstream. In 1991 Ambitious Lovers broke up, though Lindsay continued to work with Scherer.

In the early 1990s Lindsay began to rarefy his singing voice and started a solo career influenced by his Brazilian roots. In Portuguese he sang bossa nova songs such as "Este Seu Olhar" by Antônio Carlos Jobim. With Melvin Gibbs, Vinicius Cantuária, and producer Andres Levin, he moved to electronica on the albums O Corpo Sutil (The Subtle Body) (1996), Mundo Civilizado (1997), Noon Chill (1998), Prize (1999), Invoke (2002), and Salt (2004). He composed soundtracks, dance commissions, and continued No Wave-related styles in the Arto Lindsay Trio with Gibbs and Dougie Bowne. Their album Aggregates 1–26 (1995) was released by Knitting Factory.

In 1998, he collaborated with Arnaldo Antunes and Davi Moraes on the track "Sem Você" for the AIDS benefit compilation album Onda Sonora: Red Hot + Lisbon produced by the Red Hot Organization. In 2004, he co-produced and played with Seb el Zin on the album Anarchist Republic of Bzzz with Marc Ribot, Mike Ladd, and Sensational.

Lindsay has also worked with Laurie Anderson, Animal Collective, Alain Bashung, David Byrne, Gal Costa, Bill Frisell, Kip Hanrahan, IlIe AiyIe Krisma, Cibo Matto, Marisa Monte, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Selena, Naná Vasconcelos, Caetano Veloso, They Might Be Giants, and Tom Waits.


Lindsay has appeared in a number of films, usually in tie-ins with other artists. Lindsay had a cameo appearance in the Madonna vehicle Desperately Seeking Susan and can be seen playing guitar in Downtown 81, a film about the art and music in the East Village featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat and Deborah Harry. He is also featured in Step Across the Border, a documentary on the musician Fred Frith, directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel (1990) and in Kill Your Idols, a documentary directed by Scott Crary (2004). His song 'Too Many Mansions' is also featured in the film Kiss Daddy Goodnight which stars Uma Thurman and Steve Buscemi.


Lindsay began his experience as producer in 1981 working with Italian No wave band Hi-Fi Bros. He has produced recordings by Brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé, Vinicius Cantuária, Gal Costa, Carlinhos Brown, Marisa Monte, Adriana Calcanhotto, and Lucas Santtana. He also co-produced the first album of Anarchist Republic of Bzzz.[5]


Beginning in his early days in the East Village of New York City, Lindsay befriended and collaborated with artists. With Diego Cortez (born James Curtis) he became immersed in an art community that included Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vito Acconci. His have included the artwork of Matthew Barney, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Nan Goldin, Philip Taaffe, and Kara Walker. Starting in the 1990s, Cortez was art director for his solo albums.

He collaborated with Japanese artist Noritoshi Hirakawa at an exhibition at Deitch Projects and as part of a sound-art exhibition at PS1, a gallery in New York.

Lindsay wrote the epilogue for No Beauty without Danger (German title: Nur was nicht ist, ist möglich), the official biography of the German experimental band Einstürzende Neubauten

In 2013, Lindsay sang on "I Guess We're Floating" by Stephon Alexander and Rioux. The song was released on the album Here Comes Now in August 2014 by Connect Records.[6]


  • netmage 2006 performs Ipanema Théories with Dominique Gonzalez Foerster and alone Garden of self regard


As leader[edit]

With Ambitious Lovers

With DNA

  • A Taste of DNA (American Clave, 1981)

With The Golden Palominos

With The Lounge Lizards

As guest[edit]

With Vinicius Cantuaria

  • Sol Na Cara (Gramavision, 1996)
  • Tucuma (Verve, 1998)

With Kip Hanrahan

  • Coup De Tete (American Clave, 1981)
  • Desire Develops an Edge (American Clave, 1983)
  • Vertical's Currency (American Clave, 1985)

With John Lurie

  • Music from the Original Scores: Stranger Than Paradise and the Resurrection of Albert Ayler (1985)
  • Down by Law (1987)

With Jun Miyake

  • Innocent Bossa in the Mirror (2002)
  • Stolen from Strangers (2008)

With Ryuichi Sakamoto

  • Esperanto (1985)
  • Futurista (1986)
  • Beauty (1990)
  • Smoochy (1996)

With Caetano Veloso

  • Estrangeiro (Elektra Musician, 1989)
  • Circulado (Elektra Nonesuch, 1991)

With John Zorn

  • Locus Solus (Rift, 1983)
  • The Big Gundown (Nonesuch, 1986)
  • Cobra (Hat Hut, 1987)
  • Cynical Hysterie Hour (CBS/Sony, 1989)

With others


  1. ^ Dougan, John; Westergaard, Sean. "Biography: Arto Lindsay". Allmusic. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
  2. ^ Olewnick, Brian. "DNA (Last Live at CBGB's)". Allmusic. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  3. ^ Krasnow, David. "Arto Lindsay", Bomb magazine, Spring 2000. Retrieved on January 20, 2012
  4. ^ Reviews: Pop - Recommended. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 12 January 1985. pp. 101–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  5. ^ Mattioli, Valerio (2 July 2014). "Arto Lindsay, un'intervista enciclopedica". XL (in Italian). Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Premiere: Stephon Alexander and Rioux Recruit No Wave Icon Arto Lindsay For Ecstatic 'I Guess We're Floating'". 2014-07-17. Retrieved 2014-09-20.

External links[edit]