Kid Spatula: Meast

Lee Henderson

Kid Spatula


Label: Planet Mu
US Release Date: 2004-05-18
UK Release Date: 2004-04-26

Was anybody warned that acid is addictive? Aren't we supposed to be tired of it by now? Back in 1990-whatever-it-was, I was deep into the toxic shock of all those Aphex tabs, not to mention the hundreds of squirrelly hours I spent tripping on Luke Vibert's Plug and Wagon Christ. The hippies called it a flashback, but this has gone on for like 15 years straight and the hits keep on coming. Granted, it's the same old dealers who keep peddling it year after year, but it's good shit. Back in the early days of acid, when the 303 synth and the ring modulator helped turn raves into Charles Mansonized weekend festivals for brain-eating teenage zombies, Mike Paradinas was making some of the most insane stuff out there under the name Mu-Ziq. For a while, he was releasing new albums every year or so. Not just good records, but great records, filled with Godzilla breaks and acid synth that turned your breath to fire. He was among the most revered artists of the new scene, whose awful name, Intelligent Dance Music, had yet to be fully memorialized by critics. For a good decade almost, Paradinas was so busy making music he had to find another name to get his leftovers to the people, so he started to put out more stuff as Kid Spatula.

2003 saw Warp do its first release with Vibert, a phenomenal record of pure, scintillating acid called YosePH -- his best record to date. Acid is the name of the game for Aphex Twin and Squarepusher's recent collaboration as managers of the Man label. And 2004 brings us a megadose of Kid Spatula. Whether or not Meast is Paradinas cleaning out the Mu vaults, he's just released a stunning double CD featuring 34 tracks and a billion minutes worth of acid anxiety.

The thing is, not a second of it sounds dated. It doesn't sound old. Or, if the sound on Meast is dated, then the speed at which electronic music retro-izes yesteryear's unique fidelities is so fast that the classic IDM sound is now pleasantly mainstream. I can't help think I've just heard all those freaky early Mu beats in a Ghostface Killa track; that sound like the digital monkeywrech jamming the cogs of a machine in a polygonal widget factory. Really cranky sounding beats. Anyway, it sounded totally mind-boggling at the time, and today it sounds hot.

There was a time in the '90s when ripping open a Mu-Ziq record was a big deal -- I think it was, at least for a small but enthusiastic demographic in every major city a big deal. The album In Pine Effect is a particularly memorable experience for me personally that I won't go into at the moment. I also have stories about release dates for Seefeel and Autechre albums, in case you're interested. What I'm noticing now is that I still make sure to get the albums on the day they come out, but that I have fewer stories to tell about the experience. The last Mu-Ziq record, Bilious Paths, was a massive creation, probably the best tracks of his life. Even so, there wasn't a big stink about the record. Same people back in the day who'd be freaking about a new release by Paradinas are now all gabber-mouthed over Manitoba or Fennesz or Kid 606.

The temperament of the music subculture today has relaxed a lot since the '90s. We no longer prefer such tight borders between genres, so we're choosing Four Tet's digital-analog braidwork over a more purist electronic artist like Paradinas. It's the same with rock. You could say the same thing about TV on the Radio taking the place of the Jesus Lizard. It's not a judgement on music tastes. All that it means is, hold on to your Paradinas and Tortoise records, maybe you're starting to disagree with the sound, it's all a little too... how do you say?... Bill Clinton? But in about two more years you're going to be glad you have them, because that tight, restricted sound is going to start to feel really freaky fresh. Meast is the bullseye in that strange emotional paradox: nostalgia for the future.






Great Peacock Stares Down Mortality With "High Wind" (premiere + interview)

Southern rock's Great Peacock offer up a tune that vocalist Andrew Nelson says encompasses their upcoming LP's themes. "You are going to die one day. You can't stop the negative things life throws at you from happening. But, you can make the most of it."


The 80 Best Albums of 2015

Travel back five years ago when the release calendar was rife with stellar albums. 2015 offered such an embarrassment of musical riches, that we selected 80 albums as best of the year.


Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.


The Redemption of Elton John's 'Blue Moves'

Once reviled as bloated and pretentious, Elton John's 1976 album Blue Moves, is one of his masterpieces, argues author Matthew Restall in the latest installment of the 33 1/3 series.


Whitney Take a Master Class on 'Candid'

Although covers albums are usually signs of trouble, Whitney's Candid is a surprisingly inspired release, with a song selection that's eclectic and often obscure.


King Buzzo Continues His Reign with 'Gift of Sacrifice'

King Buzzo's collaboration with Mr. Bungle/Fantômas bassist Trevor Dunn expands the sound of Buzz Osborne's solo oeuvre on Gift of Sacrifice.


Jim O'Rourke's Experimental 'Shutting Down Here' Is Big on Technique

Jim O'Rourke's Shutting Down Here is a fine piece of experimental music with a sure hand leading the way. But it's not pushing this music forward with the same propensity as Luc Ferrari or Derek Bailey.


Laraaji Returns to His First Instrument for 'Sun Piano'

The ability to help the listener achieve a certain elevation is something Laraaji can do, at least to some degree, no matter the instrument.


Kristin Hersh Discusses Her Gutsy New Throwing Muses Album

Kristin Hersh thinks influences are a crutch, and chops are a barrier between artists and their truest expressions. We talk about life, music, the pandemic, dissociation, and the energy that courses not from her but through her when she's at her best.


The 10 Best Fleetwood Mac Solo Albums

Fleetwood Mac are the rare group that feature both a fine discography and a successful series of solo LPs from their many members. Here are ten examples of the latter.


Jamila Woods' "SULA (Paperback)" and Creative Ancestry and Self-Love in the Age of "List" Activism

In Jamila Woods' latest single "SULA (Paperback)", Toni Morrison and her 1973 novel of the same name are not static literary phenomena. They are an artist and artwork as galvanizing and alive as Woods herself.


The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.


'Can You Spell Urusei Yatsura' Is a Much Needed Burst of Hopefulness in a Desultory Summer

A new compilation online pulls together a generous helping of B-side action from a band deserving of remembrance, Scotland's Urusei Yatsura.


Jess Cornelius Creates Tautly Constructed Snapshots of Life

Former Teeth & Tongue singer-songwriter Jess Cornelius' Distance is an enrapturing collection of punchy garage-rock, delicate folk, and arty synthpop anthems which examine liminal spaces between us.


Sikoryak's 'Constitution Illustrated' Pays Homage to Comics and the Constitution

R. Sikoryak's satirical pairings of comics characters with famous and infamous American historical figures breathes new and sometimes uncomfortable life into the United States' most living document.


South African Folk Master Vusi Mahlasela Honors Home on 'Shebeen Queen'

South African folk master Vusi Mahlasela pays tribute to his home and family with township music on live album, Shebeen Queen.


Planningtorock Is Queering Sound, Challenging Binaries, and Making Infectious Dance Music

Planningtorock emphasizes "queering sound and vision". The music industry has its hierarchies of style, of equipment, of identities. For Jam Rostron, queering music means taking those conventions and deliberately manipulating and subverting them.


'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.