The Fredscape Collective's µ-ziq Page

Introduction

When I first started listening to the music of Aphex Twin I really thought it was wicked and unlike anything I'd ever heard. I was wondering if there were other people who created these kinds of sounds. Well, nobody does music the way Aphex does, but the music created by Mike Paradinas could be placed in the same league.

Mike Paradinas has released an enormous amount of stuff since his first album "Tango'n'Vectiv" and has never dissapointed.

Where Aphex Twin excells in his self-made sounds and surprising new twists µ-ziq is a master in layering different beats and melodies onto eachother without making it sound too crowded. He also excells in making experimental techno funky.

Mike has played in a few bands as a keyboard player before he decided to go his own way. His first album was made together with a guy from his last band called Fran Norton, but most of it is Mike's own work. His live performances are something to be seen and heard. Most techno acts just play DAT-tapes because it's too much hassle to take all the equipment with you all the time and because it's to sensitive for water and such things. But that's exactly what Mike does. His live performances are really live! He said in interviews that he wants to play live instead of playing a DAT because it get's his name mentioned and because of his old band-life. Whatever the reason, it's pretty special to see him at work on stage!

If I could name but two favorite artists I would surely pick Aphex Twin and µ-ziq, for they are the ones that never let you down and always come up with totally new sounds and tunes without losing the fun of making music.

The members of The Fredscape Collective

Contents

~ Albums ~ Singles, EP's and mini albums ~ Special Projects ~ Remixes ~ Links ~

Albums

Mike has released an incredible amount of albums in a pretty short time. Almost all of his albums are very different in style from each other, especially if he uses an alias.

-ziq - Tango n' Vectiv
This is the first album released by Mike and one of the first techno cd's I heard and it still remains one of my favorites! I think it's slightly better then Bluff Limbo and it features some of the best techno tunes I know. It's now a veteran album in the world of techno, but it still sounds different and refreshing after all these years!

-ziq - Bluff Limbo
This is Micheal Paradinas' second album. It was originally released in a limited edition and only a few people ever got their hands on a copy. Now Rephlex records has finally released it again and now everybody with a taste for good techno music can get his/her hands on a copy!! Although it is now quite old, it's never lost it's touch and is a true classic in it's genre.

µ-ziq - In pine effect
This album is one of the 7 (!) cd's released by Micheal Paradinas in 1995. It's one of the better ones, featuring very cool songs. Not as funky as the also reviewed 'Jake Slazenger makes a racket', but definately a good intelligent Techno music release with the typical -ziq melodies and beats. Great stuff, but not really essential anymore.

Jake Slazenger Makes a racket
This cd is from Mike Paradinas is very, very good! Lot's of funky beats in it and two very 'gentle' ambient songs! It's more funky and less 'serious' then his µ-ziq releases and it might not be to everybodies liking, but it's pretty much an essential buy if you're a µ-ziq fan.

Kid Spatula - Spatula Freak
This is yet another cd from Micheal Paradinas, although you can't find his name anywhere on the cd you can hear it very clearly from the songs. The style is pretty much the same as 'In pine effect' and if you like that album you'll probably like this one too. This release is not as good as 'In pine effect', but it features some great tunes nonetheless.

Jake Slazenger - Das ist ein groovy beat, ja
This is another funky, strange and very cool cd from mister Michael Paradinas. From the big-band sounds of "Hung like a bull" through to the jungly sounds of "Nautilus" and onto the ambient-like atmosphere of "slowdance", this is a very good album! Combine all that with Mike's xylophone's and you get some of the funkiest techno ever!! It might be a little to jolly and even cheesy for some, but still the quality of Mike's talent shines through.

Gary Moscheles - Shaped to make your life easier
The many different aliases under which Mike releases his music serve a purpose. The µ-ziq alias is for his general stuff on his own label. Jake Slazenger is the funky one, Kid Spatula is in essence the same as µ-ziq but on another label and his Gary Moscheles alias is for his more groovy, jazzy style. This cd therefore features some different music then any other release from him so far. It sounds like a jazz session with lots of groove, organs and some cheesy singin' and shouting. It takes some getting used to and sounds very strange at your first go, but it is worth delving into, because beneath the funny, almost cynical outer layer lie some pretty deep musical layers that are definately worth the effort.

µ-ziq - Lunatic Harness
Without hesatation I can say that this is the best cd µ-ziq has released since Tango'n'vectiv. The absolute brilliance on this cd has to be heard to be believed. Layering many different beats and even more melodies over each other has always been his strong point, but on this album he shows just how far he can take it. It might sound a bit 'crowded' if you first listen to it, but the music has so much depth that you'll hear something new every time you listen to it! In my opinion the song called 'Hasty boom alert' is one of the best techno-tunes ever made and this album is right up there with the likes of Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works 85-92' and other such classics. Absolutely essential!

Singles mini albums and EP's

Between his album releases Mike Paradinas unleashes mini albums and singles onto the unsuspecting crowd. Most of these small albums are longer then the average single you'll hear and are almost without exception worth your money.

-ziq - Salsa with Mesquite (mini album)
This mini album is the typically µ-ziqian music with xylophones and wicked beats. It's one of the better offerings from mister Paradinas. The tune called "Balsa Lightning (Jake Slazenger Remix)" is one of the best µ-ziq tunes I know.

Jake Slazenger - Nautilus (Single)
This little album from the guy behind -ziq has 4 songs on it. The first is a cool song with an incredibly funky breakbeat (which is typical for Jake's work, funky is Jake's middlename). The second is a little less inspired. It's a song with the same instruments as the song 'Metal Thing #1' on his Kid Spatula 'Spatula Freak' album and a song on -ziq's 'Bluff Limbo'. The third song to the contrary is one of the very best Trip-Hop-Techno songs I have ever heard! An incredibly cool hip-hop beat combined with an organ and a very cool voice-sample make this the best song on the cd! For the last song it's the same story as the second one really. Nothing special, but still enjoyable. It's only 20 minutes long and I wouldn't recommend it, except if you're a µ-ziq fan and want everything he releases.

µ-ziq - Ulmer Bile tracks (Volume 1 and Volume 2) (mini album)
This is the first cd in the 'new' style of µ-ziq. This new style means that he is now experimenting with drum & bass. But, being the musical genious he is, his version of D&B sounds completely different from any other artist. His style can be compared to the likes of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher, but he's really on his own here. His D&B is much groovier and has lots of different melodies layered ontop of beautifull strings. Although in my opinion not all of the songs are excellent, this album is definately worth your attention and if your a µ-ziq fan then it's simply essential.

µ-ziq - My little beautiful (Single)
This release goes a step further in the direction that the 'Ulmer Bile tracks' took us. Mike's D&B influences seem to have matured into something that is really a new leap for his music. It's definately made sure that µ-ziq remains one of the top techno-producers in the business and this album shows what to expect from the album "Lunatic harness". I would buy this single only if you like the album.

µ-ziq - Brace Yourself (Single)
After the album "Lunatic Harness" comes another single release. Although not as good as some of the songs on the album, you can safely buy this little gem if you like "Lunatic Harness". As with most of µ-ziq's single-releases this cd is pretty long for a single and should definately keep you entertained for quite
a while.

Special projects

Being as productive as he is, Mike has done a couple of albums with other people. These albums sound quite different from his own work and are a good addition to his discography.

-ziq vs. The Auteurs
It's incredible that Micheal Paradinas can keep up such a high quality with such quantity! This one is no exception! It's a cd made by Micheal in cooperation with The Auteurs which supposedly is rock band. It isn't just The Auteurs playing and -ziq making some beats or anything like that, he has totally remixed the songs into incredibly cool and original songs! If you like things such as Portishead, Tricky or Massive Attack, then you'll probably like this too! Although it's rather short (about 48 minutes) it surely justifies the cost, especially if you're a µ-ziq fan!

Mike & Rich - Expert knob Twiddlers
This special little cd features two of the most progressive and brilliant minds in the techno scene: Richard D. James and Mike Paradinas. The mixture of styles from these two great artists really works very well! The happy melodies of -ziq combined with the dark(ish) strings and beats of Aphex Twin and the combined humor and pleasure in making music make this cd really worth listening to! I think that these two guys just got into a recording studio (probably one of their two bedrooms) and wondered how idiotic and stupid they could make this. Even the cover art is very humorous. The use of samples and even a burp in one song is very cheesy in a positive way!

Slagboom van Loon - A collaboration between Speedy J and µ-ziq
A collaboration between two of the most progressive techno producers in the business is always a good thing. This album combines the genius of Jochem Paap and Mike Paradinas and delivers some very hauntig music. The influence of both gentlemen ore very obvious if you know what to listen for. The overall feel of the album is dark, minimal ambient with some relaxing melodies and distorted beats.In my opinion the best song however is the uplifting tune called: "Poppy seed" which features a very excellent acid line and an amazingly simple, yet highly appropriate melody.

Remixes

Remixing is one of the other things that Mike does quite often. His remixes are always very different from the original, but never lose touch with it.

Aphex Twin - On (single)
This single release by Aphex Twin features a totally excellent mix from Reload and an absolutely amazing mix by µ-ziq. The story goes that µ-ziq gave Aphex a tape of an early recording of the song, which Aphex put on the cd. If you listen closely to the beginning of the song you can hear the tape jamming slightly before picking up pace again. If this is true? Who knows, it's a nice story though! And it doesn't deter from the fact that this remix by µ-ziq is one of my favorite tunes of all times.

Various - Aural Expasion Remixed Sheep
This is a remix cd from the Freezone label which contains remixes by some renowned artists like Wagon Christ, Mixmaster Morris and µ-ziq. µ-ziq's mix cannot be described as his best work ever, but it's certainly one of the better mixes on the album. His typical beats and xylophones are present and some nice, moody strings finish the job.

Speedy J - Ni Go Snix (single)
Speedy J is one of the top Dutch techno producers who released this single as a taster for his new album. It features some remixes by Speedy himself and some by the likes of Like a tim and offcourse µ-ziq. The original song is pretty strange, but µ-ziq delivers a mix that starts out with some strange and distorted beats before layering some very nice melodies and strings over it and turning the whole thing around into a beautiful, typically µ-ziqian tune. It's a bit hard and features some very strange beats, so it will take some time to get use to, but I think µ-ziq's mix is the best on this cd and it will especially appeal to fans of the 'Lunatic Harness' album.

Links
There aren't that many pages about Mike on the net really. There are some good ones though, here are a few.

Multisanta's -ziq page
One of the best (if not the best) resources for info on the Mikeman and his music.

-ziq Central
Not very good-looking, but informative and up-to-date resource on every aspect of the -ziq-world.

-ziq at Yahoo
Online forum about Mike and all his alter-ego's.

Astralwerk's -ziq site
Astralwerks is the label that releases Mike's stuff in the US. This page features news, a discography and some info.

Reactions

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teccie@mindless.com

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