Entries in Planet Mu (7)
Last week I wrote a feature about the legacy of Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq) and its many similarities to that of Aphex Twin. Over the years, Mike has put out many ambient tunes nestled stealthily into his full length releases. Even die-hard fans of the London-born producer may discount the notion of Mike being a force in the genre simply because—unlike Aphex Twin—Mike has strewn these songs about his catalog rather than focusing his ambient efforts into a single listen (e.g., Selected Ambient Works). The feature on Mike included a Spotify playlist of 25 of his ambient songs from his various aliases from throughout his 20+ year career. He's given me the green light to feature this playlist in podcast form, so here you go.
This is a special Mixcloud-only edition of ANTS.
- µ-Ziq - "27" [Rephlex, 1994]
- µ-Ziq - "Strawberry Fields Hotel [Planet Mu, 2007]
- µ-Ziq - "Whale Soup" [Rephlex, 1993]
- Kid Spatula - "Squirms" [Planet Mu, 2004]
- µ-Ziq - "Ethereal Murmurings" [Rephlex, 2004]
- µ-Ziq - "Eggshell" [Planet Mu, 2007]
- µ-Ziq - "Fall of Antioch" [Planet Mu, 2003]
- µ-Ziq - "Oh" [Planet Mu, 199?/2013]
- µ-Ziq - "Slag Boom Van Loon - "SPC-CH-PN" [Planet Mu, 1998]
- Kid Spatula - "Snorkmaiden" [Planet Mu, 2000]
- Kid Spatula - "Mighty Softstep" [Planet Mu, 2004]
- µ-Ziq - "The Wheel" [Rephlex, 1994]
- µ-Ziq - "PRG" [Planet Mu, 2014]
- Slag Boom Van Loon - "Pedals" [Planet Mu, 1998]
- µ-Ziq - "Eggshell 2" [Planet Mu, 2007]
- µ-Ziq - "Sick Porter" [Rephlex, 1994]
- µ-Ziq - "Air" [Planet Mu, 199?/2013]
- Slag Boom Van Loon - "Sutedja" [Planet Mu, 1998]
- µ-Ziq - "Painshill Park" [Planet Mu, 2007]
- µ-Ziq - "Wannabe" [Planet Mu, 1997]
- Kid Spatula - "Qisope" [Planet Mu, 2000]
- µ-Ziq - "Scaling" [Hut Recordings, 1999]
- Slag Boon Van Loon - "Mooshy" [Planet Mu, 1998]
- µ-Ziq - "Pollux" [Planet Mu, 199?/2013]
- Heterotic - "Liverpool" [Planet Mu, 2014]
Syro-mania is in full effect, and many of us leftfield electronic music fans are finding ourselves nostalgic not only for Richard D. James' catalog but for the entire braindance canon. Take FACT Magazine's "The 100 Greatest IDM Tracks" feature from earlier this week, not to mention the too-many-to-count RDJ primers that have surfaced since Syro's cryptic announcement last month. It seems likely that the Warp back catalog is surging on Spotify and other platforms. New fans are playing catch-up by inhaling '90s and '00s IDM content like they're cramming for finals, and seasoned fans are dusting off their Black Dog and Metamatics LPs. (I had an IDM college radio show from 2000 until 2004, so count me in with the latter camp.)
One figure that is likely to receive prime inheritance from these shenanigans is Mike Paradinas, bka μ-Ziq, head honcho of Planet Mu Records and something of an RDJ career doppelgänger. I don't use "doppelgänger" in a disparaging sense—I just mean that Mike has an uncanny number of parallels with Richard. It's almost as if whenever Richard achieved a landmark moment in his career, Mike made nearly the same achievement at nearly the same time, albeit perhaps on a smaller scale.
Let's put this notion to the test shall we?
You may notice that—in terms of the important points—Richard and Mike are essentially equals in most ways. Of course we can be left to quibble over who is the better producer and musician, and clearly Richard has garnered more notoriety. But the fact remains that both are highly influential leftfield electronic artists who collaborated and drew inspiration from one another, helped build a scene, dabbled in curiously similar musical disciplines, and shared a career arc. One clear edge that Richard has over Mike is the release of the Selected Ambient Works duology. With this series, Richard was able to elevate his audience past the IDM crowd and into psych, prog, fusion and modern classical circles. Plenty of other artists were dabbling in ambient in the early and mid '90s (The Orb, The Future Sound of London, Global Communications, the FAX label), but Richard's angle was more purist, and it earned him the understood title of Brian Eno's successor among many and was greatly instrumental in establishing his cult following.
Mike has been releasing ambient music throughout his career as well. In fact, he's released exponentially more ambient music than Richard since Richard's release of SAW II in 1994. The difference is that Mike's ambient output has been sprinkled around evenly across his albums throughout his 20-year-plus career—a track or two here, a track or two there. Might the notoriety of the two have been more paralleled if Mike had been the one who focused his ambient efforts into SAW-style packages in the early '90s? It's worth pondering. In any case, I have compiled most of Mike's commercially available ambient work into a single playlist. Have a listen and hear for yourself how it measures up to SAW I and II:
Chicago footwork pioneer Traxman just released his Planet Mu debut full length. Here's a preview along with a Traxman mix uploaded by Mike Paradinas, Planet Mu's head honcho, after the jump.
Traxman's sound is more melodic and accessible than the footwork you're most likely used to. So if you couldn't get on board with footwork before, now's a good time to reevaluate.
If these snippets are any indication of how good the comp will be, you can go ahead and drop it into your "Best of '09" folder.
Pre-order Wild Angels off Amazon ($14.98 CD).