AKA Leyland James Kirby
Birthplace: Edgeley, Stockport, England
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Electronic Musician
Executive summary: V/Vm, The Caretaker
Taking as its anthem the Lieutenant Pigeon song Mouldy Old Dough, Kirby's label V/Vm Test has released the most terrible music imaginable, often made to sound even worse. As V/Vm he was most notorious for his plunderphonic work -- the mangled pop tunes of Sick Love (2000) for instance, where dredged-up hits like Chris de Burgh's "The Lady In Red" and The Bee Gees' "How Deep Is Your Love" undergo drastic surgery and pitch inversion, were only the cream on a much deeper dredge of commercial, peculiarly English popular culture. For a time his most visible release was Help Aphex Twin (2001), an attack on the mythologized knob twiddler Richard D. James. Kirby was an unsung casualty in the war against corporate music and bad copyright law, after his gonzo 2003 release Relax -- a Frankie Goes to Hollywood orgy, released on CD, 12", 7", and picture disc at great expense -- brought down the hammer of the British Phonographic Industry and forced him into hiding, threatening his label's existence.
Kirby re-emerged in 2005 after a long, productive hiatus. Finding only disgust for the now-trendy regurgitation of the past in "mashup" form, his first act was to revive one of the few untrampled byways of his raver youth, Belgian New-Beat, through a single 12" later supplemented by a series of online-only releases. Late in the year, he unveiled a large, new work under his parallel alias The Caretaker, Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia, which all came to over six hours of new music. But this was just a taster for his most ambitious project of all, and the conclusion of a decade's efforts as V/Vm: his VVM365 project.
Each day for all of 2006, Kirby created new music and released it all for free on his website and documenting the full year's activity. This production was no small task as his work was disrupted both by relocation from Manchester to Berlin, by illness, and by a debilitating fall suffered during a performance in Belgium. Yet Kirby persevered, and by the end of December, he had produced over 600 audio tracks, well over fifty hours of free audio, and over three gigabytes of freely licensed music. Stylistically, the release is closest to Kirby's earlier 12" releases Chart Runners (1998) and occasionally Up-Link Data Transmissions (1996), though a decade's advances in audio software allowed Kirby to produce a much more challenging listen.
The project's embers glowed in the form of the Vuzkid imprint, which operated in true net-label form, releasing work ranging from Kirby's own haunting White Death, to burn-it-all retrospectives of relative unknowns from his diasporic online coterie. Out of the blue and into the black, Kirby heralded the new year 2009 by declaring the end of V/Vm and the start of a new project, History Always Favours The Winners, which has seen the old confrontationalist sublime into honest, life-affirming ambience.
History Always Favours The Winners (2009-)
The Caretaker (1999-)
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