Friday, May 06, 2005
Reruns again: V-Effect
[Used to do a column a day. Then three a week. Now even two a week is tough. Mystical Beast slides slowly towards oblivion. Here's another rerun, one that probably deserves a bigger audience than it got the first time around. Also, No Wave made one of its semi-regular appearances over at I Love Music the other day, and as usual this band nearly got left out. Here's the original post with some very minor revisions, and one extra track.]
I was still in high school in the early 80's, and I don't want to pretend to be an expert when I'm not, so I'll refer you to this article at Perfect Sound Forever which gives a lot of background for the bands that followed and were influenced by the original No Wave groups. (I had no idea that Amy Rigby was once part of that scene!) [After this ran I did a piece that expanded on that a little bit, here. I'm still very proud of the photo on that one.]
I do mean "influenced": V-Effect don't sound like anyone on No New York. They were much less chaotic, noisy and aggressive, and will probably remind you more of "downtown" or "Knitting Factory" music. My working definition of "Knitting Factory music" (which is no longer the right term, since the club books differently now): music with annoying saxophones that Americans don't like.
As you might guess from that definition, it's not a kind of music that I normally take to. But, V-Effect have a few things in their favor. Their songs have fairly tight structures, there's a lot of post-punk evident in their rhythm section, and their lyrics, which often sound like a Seven Sisters version of the Minutemen, are especially sharp. From their one album Stop Those Songs, here are my three favorite tracks: A Tree Grows in Managua, Boyce Life and New Song (Old Story). If you have to pick just one, I'd go for Boyce Life which features a clever take on its theme of cold war spying (see The Falcon and The Snowman for background details). [Not sure why I didn't post Master-Slave the first time around, as it's also utterly fantastic. Here it is.]
Band members were Rick Brown (who I know the best due to his later band Run On, formed with his wife Sue Garner and ex-Love Child guy Alan Licht), Ann Rupel (later in Curlew and probably other Downtown Music Gallery-type acts that I don't follow), and David Zonzinsky (about whom I know nothing).
The album is very much out of print, and has never been on CD. I kind of think that now might be a really good time to reissue it, given the recent resurgence of interest in this sort of thing. [Hasn't happened yet, and I sense that the No Wave revival-of-sorts is losing steam. Maybe in 2025. V-Effect also appear on a 1982 compilation called Peripheral Vision.]