The electronic musical maestro returns with a somewhat mixed new album

  • µ-Ziq - Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique

    Reviewed by subba-culture

    <b> µ-Ziq </b> - Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique

    Mike Paradinas AKA Mu-Ziq AKA Kid Spatula etc can rightly take his place as one of the major players in modern British electronica. Just like Richard D. James, Paradinas has inspired and influenced a whole generation of electronic artists. In doing so he has also created some of the greatest electronic music of all time. The debut Mu-Ziq record - Tango N’ Vectif in 1993 - can rightly be considered one of the classic albums amongst the genre. His style mixed playschool inspired synthesised sound over manic beats that felt joyous yet menacing at the same time. Through Bluff Limbo (1994), In Pine Effect (1995) and Lunatic Harness (1997) Paradinas continued to excel in production. However by Royal Astronomy (1999) Paradinas’ tendency to create albums that were awe inspiring in parts but frustratingly average in others was coming to the fore. Bilious Paths (2003) did little to arrest this trend, so how do we greet the arrival of another new Mu-Ziq record in 2007?

    With trepidation, I guess. With the ever growing success of Planet Mu records which Paradinas founded along with his expansive range of side projects it would easy to question his drive for another classic Mu-Ziq record. However, here we are with the unfathomably titled Duntisbourne Aboots Soulmate Devastation Technique. Paradinas was always keyed into the music going on around him - as was soon with his veering to drum ‘n bass in Lunatic Harness - and this album bristles with dubstep beats. It seems signing Vex’d to his label has rubbed off a little. Prongh Seemness opens with echoing dubstep drums and a roving bass line, then the trademark Paradinas playful sythns bound into view. This theme is continued on the next two tracks somewhat tediously, before Woozy layers ambient sounds around a tight mechanic crunch. Eggshell is well made if not massively groundbreaking before the dubstep is whipped back into focus on Dirtylush Stinkwife which reminds slightly of mid 90s FSOL.

    All this has been interesting if not exceptional until reaching Strawberry Fields Hotel. The warm enveloping sounds wraps around ambling organs, gentle chimes and a simply beautiful bass line. This is where Paradinas reminds us all of the musical levels he can reach. Pons Pons maintains this standard with its mechanical components forming a strange psychedelic dream state. Then Old & Tired is anything but with the gruff tech bass lashing the quick step beat to a sweaty conclusion. The exceptional moments continue with the ponderously beautiful Painshill Park and acid soaked punch of Acid Steak Night. Essentially there are enough amazing moments on this album to cover up the parts where it feels like Paradinas has slightly run out of ideas. Should we expect more from someone of his status? Possibly, but when he’s still producing great musical memories, then you wont hear me complaining.

    By: Andrew Laughlin

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