Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Zrbo's New Favorite AMG Guy

in which the author finds validation for liking his favorite band

I was all set to write a review of VNV Nation's latest album Of Faith, Power, and Glory when I saw that AMG had already posted a review. I found this astounding, as not only has AMG typically waited at least a year to post reviews for VNV's albums, but have pretty much neglected the band as a whole - the biography hasn't been updated since 2001, there's no band pic when plenty are available (see above), and AMG's reviews have generally been lacking or just plain incorrect -one reviewer doesn't seem to even know who's in the band - there's only two members, c'mon it can't be that hard to keep track of.

As taken aback as I was, I was even more delighted when I saw that the reviewer seemed to hit the nail on the head, providing excellent reviews of the new album and Reformation 01. So impressed was I that I've had trouble writing a review of my own for the new album, because I feel that this reviewer said everything that needed to be said. But who is this reviewer, who has Zrbo found to validate his feelings for this band?

Enter - the Raggett! That's Ned Raggett, who, according to wikipedia has written over 4000 reviews for AMG (seriously?!). Browsing around a bit online I ran across Ned's blog, and boy oh boy, does this guy like his VNV Nation! Browsing through his entries I've found reviews, concert impressions, an article from the Village Voice and an interesting presentation he took part in where presenters talked and discussed a song as the song played in the background. His observations are great too, take this impression from his first VNV concert:

Their iconographic approach is a logical descendant of things like Nitzer Ebb... all cleaned up and post-rave to boot. It’s further reflected in the stage projections and the general design and instrumental set-up, lots of striking poses in the back and all. Jarring moments result — they play the beginning of one song which has an extensive sample from some guy about war’s destruction, and then all of a sudden the imagery is a CGI black/white cityscape that’s part Fritz Lang, part Speer/Riefenstahl with the band logo dominating the top of the tallest building while searchlights play up and down it or otherwise reach into the sky.

One thing I've always enjoyed about VNV is their use of imagery and phrases from the past, reworking them into a modern context showing how they're still applicable today. From the use of iconic imagery in the band's logo and stage production, to quotes from FDR, Orwell, Shakespeare, the song 'Chosen' which is practically lifted entirely from a Guy de Maupassant poem, to the latest album featuring a song with lyrics entirely from Sun Tzu, the band is excellent in using these to remind us of our humanity, that we're all in this together on some random rock flying through space, except they express it much more elegantly than I can. They play this Monday at the Grand Ballroom in San Francisco.

And just a reminder that Little Earl and me will be coming to you live from Las Vegas this coming weekend. Expect tales of coke and strippers, and long quotes from Hunter S. Thompson.


Anonymous said...

Ah, too kind! I should note though that the Village Voice article was written by fellow VNV fan and all around good egg Josh Langhoff.

Herr Zrbo said...

Wow, hello there and thanks for stopping by! As you can probably tell I'm pleased that there's finally a well written review up on AMG for a VNV album. Kudos to you!

There's lots of music-buff discussion here, fellow blogger Little Earl has blogged previously about visiting Richie Unterberger's rare rock & roll clip presentations in San Francisco. Feel free to browse!

Little Earl said...

Hello Ned Raggett! We love you AMG guys!!!!!

Peter Matthew Reed said...

Oh dear, I expect this is all a bit too exciting for y'all. It's nice when the internet works though, huh?

Anonymous said...

Really amazing blog..

Thank you so much...
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