I remember vividly the first time I played a video game. I was young enough (4 or 5) to be so impressionable that "imprintable" seems more accurate, and I visited a friend's house, where he revealed to me the wonder that was Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Instantly I was hooked, enthralled by the promise of a virtual world whose rules could be easily understood and manipulated for gain, where the myriad limitations of my physical body were meaningless.
Fast forward several decades and video games, once considered the exclusive domain of nerds and social outcasts (this author included humbly therein), have become a multi-billion dollar business whose philosophical trappings can be traced back from Neal Stephenson to William Gibson to the Italian Futurists. Meow Wolf's Arcade Soundtracks: Wiggy's Plasma Plex, from San Francisco producers David Last and Chelsea Faith (aka Cherushii), is a musical love letter to (and from) virtual worlds — and one of 2016's best records.
As its title suggests, Plasma Plex is a soundtrack — to a video arcade inside Meow Wolf, a multi-disciplinary semi-permanent art installation in Santa Fe, NM. (If that sounds confusing, it is, but no matter — this record stands perfectly well enough alone, intended functionality notwithstanding.) Spread across two discs, Plasma Plex is a kaleidoscopic listen, jumping from funky electro-pop to hard-driving techno to nostalgic moody grooves from one song to the next.