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Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Mu-Ziq

by Philip Sherburne

Artist Spotlight: Mu-Ziq


Throughout the 1990s, Mike Paradinas was one of electronic music's most feverishly prolific artists. Between 1993 and 2003, he recorded more than a dozen albums under his various solo aliases -- Mu-Ziq, Jake Slazenger, Kid Spatula, Tusken Raiders, Gary Moscheles -- as well as scattered EPs under names like Rude Ass Tinker and A Plaid Tusk. With Speedy J (Jochem Paap), he made two more albums as Slag Boom Van Loon, and in 1995, Paradinas and Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) went head to head as Mike & Rich. Both the pace of his releases and the explosion of identities suited Paradinas' approach, which seemed to regard electronic music less as a fixed category than a ceaselessly mutating organism capable of absorbing techno rhythms, jungle breaks, jazz and experimental computer music into its dynamic ebb and flow.

Then, after 2007, Paradinas' own output all but ceased as he focused his efforts on his Planet Mu label, putting out everything from dubstep (Vexd, Boxcutter, Distance) to left-field house and bass music (FaltyDL, Floating Points, Ital); in the past two years, he has turned Planet Mu into Chicago footwork's staunchest international supporter, releasing boundary-breaking records from DJ Rashad, DJ Spinn, Traxman and RP Boo.

Now, after a seven-year hiatus, he's back with not one but two new Mu-ziq albums. Chewed Corners, as opalescent as its cover, returns to the intricate machine rhythms and otherworldly frequencies of early albums like Bluff Limbo and Tango N'Vectif. Appropriately, his other new record, Somerset Avenue Tracks (1992-1995), compiles unreleased material from the same period. The two albums make for fascinating companion pieces: Put both in a playlist on shuffle, and you might be hard-pressed to say which are the old tracks and which are the new ones. Not that the new songs sound retro; on the contrary, both albums feel not just ahead of their time, but plucked outside it altogether. Take a trip through Paradinas' twisted back catalog with our Artist Spotlight.

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