Mike Paradinas (Mu-Ziq) is, like his peers Aphex Twin and Luke Vibert, a tremendous talent. In the brave new world of autistic dance music -- which both flirts with and ignores the dance floor -- Paradinas plays in the increasingly mined terrain of electronic music, from the break beats of hip-hop to the ethereal computer-disco sounds of techno. The personal twists of Paradinas, exemplified in "Royal Astronomy," are his frequent forays into strings and the atonal 20th-century music of Schoenberg.
But when in "The Motorbike Track" a Gang Starr vocal is sampled, the ambivalence of Paradinas' position -- underground hipster or sold-out spin-maker -- is made manifest. Though my sympathies lie with musical miscegenation rather than cultural conservatism, my "faking-the-funk" radar goes off when a few brilliant white kids get to tell the rest of the world what's up in the urban underground -- and then set it to strings.