VGM Mix Tape #8 Release Party | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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VGM Mix Tape #8 Release Party

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The video-game industry of the late 70s and early 80s gave rise to a twee, minimalist style of musical accompaniment that was shaped by the limits of technology and that rewarded coding expertise as much as compositional talent. Video-game sound tracks have since become studio-recorded opuses nearly as lavish as their movie counterparts, but to purists the magic is long gone. Hence VGM Mix Tape #8, released on the local No Sides label by Billy Sides, self-proclaimed savior of the genre. Distilling the history of the home video-game console down to a single disc, it's a compilation of 27 geektastic dance tracks that contemporary electronics nerds have constructed from glitches, squelches, bonus-points twinkles, bottle-rocket screeches, and tinny explosions generated by tone sources including Commodore 64, Game Boy, TurboGrafx 16, Atari 2600, and Speak & Spell units. Though some good songs exploit nostalgia by sampling identifiable games, the pants-creamers are the full blown rave-ups that evoke the spirit of old-school gaming instead of mimicking it. On 4096's track, for example, house and hip-hop beats gradually cut through jaunty melodies and harmless bleeps until a headbanging darkwave groove takes shape; you can practically see the joyride turning into a code-red situation. Performing for the release party are local noise types Panicsville, Game Boy enthusiasts Icon/Prix, Daniel P. of Mark 4 (whose sweeping, twitchy compositions don't really nail the genre but are definitely most dramatic), and Multi-Modal. Saturday, December 6, 9 PM, Buddy, 1542 N. Milwaukee; 773-342-7332.

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