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µ-ziq

Royal Astronomy

(Astralwerks)

Mike Paradinas (a.k.a. µ-Ziq) delivers his first set since 1997’s Lunatic Harness with the staggeringly amazing Royal Astronomy. A tour with Björk renewed Paradinas’ interest in symphonic orchestration, which in turn provided him with a broader palate than ever and has inspired the most advanced and adventurous work of his career.


Paradinas’ orchestral techniques are drawn largely from the Steve Reich/Philip Glass/Ryuchi Sakamoto school, which suits electronic music to a tee. On “The Hwicci Song” he marries that approach with some hip-hop beats and a staccato melody that wouldn’t be out of place on the Psycho soundtrack.


It still shocks me how it took awhile for this album to grow on me. But that may have something to do with where I first listened to it. Quite erroneously, I used it as the soundtrack for driving (I use the term “driving” very generously here—inching and crawling are really more on the mark) back and forth between Santa Monica and the San Fernando Valley on a trip to L.A. My advice to you, don’t ever use µ-Ziq as background music—his work requires your brain as well as your toe-tapping feet to appreciate.

Rating:

Sarah Zupko founded PopMatters, one of the largest independent cultural criticism magazines on the web, back in the Internet's early days of 1999. Zupko is a former Executive Producer for Tribune Media Services, the media syndication arm of the Tribune Company, and a 10-year veteran of Tribune. Her other pursuits involve writing historical fiction and research in the fields of Slavic and German history, as well as general European cultural and intellectual history. Zupko studied musicology, film, and drama at the University of Chicago and media theory at the University of Texas, where she received her M.A.


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