V/VM, Kid-606 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

V/VM, Kid-606 

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V/VM, KID-606

In the last three or four years electronic dance music has spawned some decidedly unfunky offspring, from Alec Empire doing his Minor Threat-with-a-sampler thing to DJ Spooky dropping science with Iannis Xenakis to Powerbook maestros Pita and Fennesz jamming with improvisers Phil Durrant and Keith Rowe (on Music in Movement Electronic Orchestra, recently released by the local Perdition Plastics label). This concert, the latest installment of Mike Javor's "/bin" series, presents a chance to peer into the future of this trend--or to see right through the emperor's new clothes, depending on your perspective. The Manchester-based duo V/VM, aka Jim Kirby and Andy McGregor (who's also half the acclaimed duo Speedranch^Janksy Noise), are the movement's most aggressive foot soldiers. On last year's Chart Runners (released on their own label, also called V/VM) they shuffled overamped electro beats, harsh electronic noise, ominous drones, and out-of-control sample collages into one simultaneously thrilling, annoying, amateurish, puzzling, and evocative trip that straddles the divide between highbrow and lowbrow like the Jolly Green Giant stepping on a crack in the sidewalk. And for an encore, they dance on the grave of intellectual property rights: last year Kirby told the Wire, "It's not even worth worrying about copyright. Let them come and sue us." Most of the duo's releases have been available in ridiculously tiny quantities--a couple seven-inch singles last year were pressed in editions of 100, and there are only 1,000 copies of Chart Runners, all on vinyl and all packaged in Ziploc bags. Any quality control this might imply is canceled out by the frequency of the releases, but though V/VM's new two-CD compilation, Aural Offal Waffle, contains a fair amount of swill, there's something attractive about the duo's manic energy and sheer audacity. Also on this bill is Kid-606, aka southern Californian Michael Trost Depedro, who by contrast seems incredibly focused. His Don't Sweat the Technics (Vinyl Communication) is a breathtaking assault of cranked drum 'n' bass, gabba, digital hardcore, and ring modulator weirdness that at times calls to mind Atari Teenage Riot--but unlike Empire, the Kid doesn't proselytize, and now and then he ditches the beats altogether. The new EP GQ on the EQ (555 Recordings) is more restrained and unified, but the giddiness remains palpable. Wednesday, 8:30 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140. Peter Margasak

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