Compilation Review: µ-ZIQ / ‘Somerset Avenue Tracks 1992-1995’ (Planet Mu)



Found to be unsurprisingly upfront on new album Chewed Corners yet still with a degree of the unexpected, the multiples of veteran Mike Paradinas now throws open a previously vinyl-only anthology, criss-crossing 24 times over through unreleased electronic molecules for everyone to mobilize to. Standing to the left, the µ-ZIQ man’s furthermost forays do not occupy the headspace of a scientific mutineer, his sound found to be an open house. At times in fact it’s damned well straightforward, with ambient techno “Vinxel” and disarmingly unblemished keyboard solos “Air” and “Melodion” at the top of the uncomplicated contrasts in melody.

Various strange but beautiful textures (“Spooky Tooth,” “Pollux”) are moulded into shape with deftly mechanical fingers, issuing a come-and-get-me to whatever category is feeling plucky, operating a potter’s wheel spinning on a square-shaped disc, and simply clicking a switch (presumably given the timeline, triumphing with what technology was available) that clears the decks after there’s seemingly no room to budge.

If you want pistons overthrowing the factory floor and professorial madness, there’s ample confusion to get hit by. “Toy Gun #2” and ‘Boistron’ cater for all your dreams of deposed civilization, leading to aftermaths like the mourning drone “Str06,” bent counterattacks “Airto” and “Victor’s March”, and ‘Boilig’ piecing together haunted organs and test tubes. Given the epoch, none of it feels left behind, some going as far as nudging ahead of the game while standing head and shoulders above competition from the same era.

File under: Heterotic, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher

Album Review: RP Boo / ‘Legacy’ (Planet Mu)

rpboo legacy


The way footwork forefather Kavain Space stuffs his sampler, his output should be a multi-speed collage of colour. Tarzan roars, Flash Gordon and Phil Collins adulation, a double helping of Timbaland, Psycho strings Busta Rhymes fans will know well, soundbites from Shogun Assassin and a glut of hip-hop one-liners… yet the reality is that one of the original brains behind the fast and furious/unholy union of hip-hop, booty bass and modern dubstep, defaults on being deft. Drum machine on, samples thrown down, dance floor hijacked.

Boo’s block party booms, chucked onto a bed of bobbling bass and go-go gadget drum triggers, are unceremonious with the scissors and glue. Legacy plays as a juke inverse of Armand van Helden’s Sampleslayer, a crude, in places amateurish-sounding cut and paste of samples and loops vibing for cheap yet familiar thrills. Though long known for such strategies in Chicagoan ghetto assault, structures are built while not entirely bothered whether they win or bust by quality control, at a tempo almost overrunning 4/4 time.

The thrill of sparse hydraulics and drop-it-down-low implications of the super minimal “Red Hot”, produced with a muffle that sounds like you’re outside listening in, isn’t hard to fathom — right place, right time, right on. “Invisibu Boogie” and “Robotbutizm” have a cartoonish element to subdue the screwfaced jacking, and “Sentimental” attempts a slow jam at the given rate of syncopation. Symbolic, in a weird, disorientating, superficial adrenalin rush pushing dance music into a peculiar state of flux.

File under: DJ Spinn, Traxman, Tha Pope

Album Review: Ital / ‘Dream On’ (Planet Mu)


Ital seems in much more of a hurry than when Hive Mind condensed ambient dance for a generation always on the move into something you could power down to in your lunch break. Again working to a compact schedule (and again making you wonder why he doesn’t go all out on the album format, compounded by the too-short-for-anything “Housecapella”), Daniel Martin-McCormick starts with busy house pinched by synth slingshots to enjoyably mess up your preparations. As it transpires, it’s only the tip of an iceberg that becomes more and more treacherous.

“Boi” rummages through footwork/dubstep backstreets, excitingly putting the frighteners into a Beyonce sample. Abrasions reach a high on the scalded Waterfalls mix of “Eat Shit,” trying to hold onto industrialism and continuing the image of Ital picking a mood like he’s poring over a menu of tapas, but drawing out each dish. Typically, what lasts three and a half minutes seems to put ears through 12 rounds.

Now it’s a campaign to scorn concepts of cleanliness and continuity. The testing, stone-faced deep techno grind of “Enrique” jangles its keys to the gateway to hell, and “What a Mess” piles up chaotic, histrionic electronica. Even “Deep Cut,” a tracky house vibe with a household bassline pedigree, gets hit on by scything synth washes, as Martin-McCormick finds this release’s best accessory is lashing out.

File under: Ben UFO, Mi Ami, Mouse on Mars