• µ-Ziq - Bilious Paths

    <b> µ-Ziq </b> - Bilious Paths

    One of the original electronica masters, Mike Paradinas has been releasing music for ten years, yet, despite his almost legendary status, he remains one of the most discreet and approachable guys around. From releasing three albums in 1995 (as µ-ziq, Jake Salzenger and Kid Spatula) and another three in 1996 (as Gary Moscheles, Jake Slazenger and, with Richard D. James as Mike & Rich), Mike Paradinas has, since the release of his last album, Royal Astronomy in 1999, devoted most of his time to his label, Planet Mu, helping other artists, including Joseph Nothing, Leafcutter John, Venetian Snares or Capitol K, to develop and achieve widespread recognition.
    Since his last appearance, the electronic world hasn’t actually changed greatly, and few new artists, with the notable exception of Paradinas’s own protégé, Aaron Funk, better know as Venetian Snares, have made a truly great impression. So it is no surprise to see that the announcement of a new µ-ziq sparked conversations on many IDM message boards. And Bilious Paths was definitely well worth the wait. Unlike Aphex Twin’s Drukqs deemed by many as extremely patchy, this new µ-ziq album is as tight, hard-hitting and clever as any Paradinas record. Still at ease with his usual mix of fierce drill’n’bass, funky beats, luscious melodies and intricate electro, Mike injects some new elements of dub, old skool hip hop and rave into his compositions, considerably expending on his sonic realm, while maintaining the fine balance between sonic experimentation and accessibility. Bilious Paths opens in classic µ-ziq style with the dark and slightly oppressive Johnny Maastricht, yet, here already, it rapidly becomes obvious that Paradinas feeds his music with elements of 2-step, projecting his work right in the context of today’s music scene. Meinheld, perhaps one of the most typical µ-ziq moments of the album, echoes some of the atmosphere heard on Tango N’Vectiff, yet Mike cleverly link it to some of his later work by surimposing a infernal drum‘n’bass beat patern. Introducing a rare vocal dimension on On/Off courtesy of Mike Dykehouse, who released his first album, Dynamicobsolescence, on Planet Mu a couple of years ago, Mike Paradinas offers a resolutely oblique take on pop music by conscientiously deconstructing the melodic line before suddenly dropping it altogether and subjecting the listener to successive industrial percussive blows. Silk Ties, definitely one of the highlights of Bilious Paths, is far less straightforward. Taking a basic dub structure and perverting it with gabber-style assaults, Paradinas defines something entirely new and unexpected, proving that, if he effectively took a back sit during the last four years, he continued to refine his style. Grape Nut Beats Pt. 1 seems to take this uncanny mix even further as Mike reintroduces an uncompromising drill’n’bass beat pattern and dropping it in the already dense atmosphere, pushing the listener to the limit. Grape Nut Beats Pt. 2 sees Paradinas returning to more subtle territories as he progressively slows down the pace, announcing the imminent closing moments of this album with the rather restrained and emotionally charged My Mengegus.
    Bilious Paths marks the extremely convincing return to musical activities of one of the pioneers of the electronica scene. Not only has Mike Paradinas carefully observed what the new generation of musicians were doing , but he has continued to develop and mature during these four years, finally offering an album that places him once again far ahead of the pack. Bilious Paths is simply Paradinas’s most impressive release to date.

    4.9/5

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