Thursday, August 7, 2003

Review - Bilious Paths

Artist: Ziq

Posted on Thu, Aug 7, 2003 at 4:00 AM

As the pioneers of radical electronic experimentalism begin to segue from "groundbreaking" to "influential" and a new legion of glitch assumes the reins of bedroom freakery, it's harder and harder for the old guard to impress. Mike Paradinas -- aka µ-Ziq -- doesn't have that problem. Though he's been in the game for a decade and, along with Richard James, was part of the first real wave of genre-busting post-techno miscreants, he's lost none of his experimental fire. "Bilious Paths" is Paradinas' first µ-Ziq record since '99's "Royal Astronomy," a decidedly accessible affair that moved away from the skull-crunching bizarrity of 1997's "Lunatic Harness" and the abusive aggression of the "Brace Yourself" EP from 1998. The time off (and non-µ-Ziq work he's done in the meantime) has allowed Paradinas to arrive at a more complete sound, and "Bilious Paths" easily wraps up everything that has made the µ-Ziq project so interesting. Whether it's grinding "drill 'n' bass," twinkly techno minimalism or gut-wrenching, fractured beats, Paradinas' musical personality is on full display here. "Johnny Mastricht" opens the album with red-level distortion and "My Mengegus" closes it with haunting simplicity; the 10 tracks between them are dizzying in their digital diversity, but everything is possessed of both Paradinas' humor and his genre-busting approach. Looks like it'll be a while before he's put into the techno old folks' home.

Artist: The Durutti Column Title: Someone Else's Party Label: Artful Genre: Eclectic

The earliest albums from The Durutti Column were released on Factory Records in the giddy, post-punk heyday. But even given the era's anything-goes attitude toward sonic experimentation (and especially Factory's penchant for pop obscurantism), the sounds Vini Reilly created as The Durutti Column were bold to the point of confusion. Elegantly atmospheric and deceptively fragile-sounding, Reilly piled distorted, echoplexed guitars on top of distorted, echoplexed guitars, utilized rudimentary sampling and electronic percussion, and basically made music that sounded like lounge music for the deeply disturbed. More than 20 years later, Reilly is still defying expectations and "Someone Else's Party" easily exemplifies his solitary and idiosyncratic style. Between sampling that creepy song from the "Silencio" scene in "Mulholland Drive" (on "Spanish Lament") and using a book for a bass drum on "Spasmic Fairy," Reilly maintains a hazy distance between songcraft and soul-purging. Nothing is exciting, yet none of it is boring either. Early DC albums glided by on a foppish sheen of cracked beauty; time accentuated not only the beauty but also the cracks.


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