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In league with plunderphonic pirates and dancefloor punks like Stock, Hausen & Walkman, Kid-606, and DJ Olive, Manchester's V/Vm ("volume versus mass") crew brought a well-needed boot to the backside of the increasingly humorless dance scene of the late '90s, polarized on one side by mindless club trance and on the other by self-serious bedroom boffins. A duo comprised of James Kirby and Andy McGregor (aka Jansky Noise), V/Vm produced a series of releases notorious for their crude (but lovingly detailed) packaging, high collectability (usually only 100 to 500 copies), and, in many cases the music itself, a devastating assault on both copyright laws and hearing levels.
Kirby and McGregor founded the label known as V/Vm Test Records with Up-Link Data Transmissions, a five-track 12" issued in 1997. V/Vm's next release, the "compilation" Privileged Frames for Reference, inaugurated a label tradition by alternating tracks from real producers (like Jega and Datathief) with a variety of productions by V/Vm (and friends) issued under aliases. Chart Runners, V/Vm's first LP, appeared in mid-1998. Another compilation, 0161, was a joint release with fellow Manchester collector's label Skam. V/Vm also appeared on a split single with Third Eye Foundation for Fat Cat Records. The label's first CD releases, the compilation AuralOffalWaffle and the artist album Selected Memories from the Haunted Ballroom by the Caretaker, appeared in 1999. Kirby toured the United States later that year, and the label was offered legitimate remix roles for everyone from Hawkwind to Madonna. An assortment of compilations (The V/VM Christmas Pudding, The Green Door, Hate You) followed during 2000-2001, and a proper album of sorts -- Sometimes, Good Things Happen, released in two volumes -- appeared in early 2002. ~ John Bush