Michael Paradinas (born 1971) records primarily under the name µ-Ziq (pronounced "music") in addition to a large number of aliases. He runs the british electronic label Planet Mu and first emerged on Rephlex in 1993 with the album 'Tango N'Vectif' and..
Mike Paradinas has become one of the very few artists working with electronics to produce a recognisable amd personalised sound while at the same time mixing far-reaching experimentalism with accessibility through infectious melodies and rhythms. Achieving healthy record sales and staying true to the pioneering spirit of the underground is no mean feat.
Hailing from Raynes Park, South West London, Paradinas began operating under the name µ-Ziq whilst studying for a degree in Architecture at Kingston University in 1991. he eventually left before completing the course, partially due to a lack of interest, but more importantly to concentrate all efforts towards his music on a full time basis. Early recordingsfirst emerged on the Rephlex label with the now classic 'Tango N'Vectif' in 1993, followed a few months later by a second, 'Bluff Limbo' in 1994 - on it's initial promo run of 1000 copies, it rapidly gained a noteriety out of all proportion to it's availability, even entering the NME top 50 albums of that year. 'Tango...' meanwhile has gone on to sell in excess of 40,000 copies.
In March 1995, Mike signed to Virgin and released the 'Salsa With Mesquite' ep and the album 'In Pine Effect' ("the difference is that where the Aphex Twin's topographical doodles suggest undiscovered, unpeopled planets, µ-ZIq's approach is a good deal more emotional, attempting to tap into the inner, surfing the soul... This is 'techno' elevated above the mere functionalism of the dancefloor, lighting fires in the heart and painting pictures for the mind's eye." - Melody Maker). This year also saw the genesis of 'Jake Slazenger', one of Mike's numerous pseudonyms with the acclaimed future-past casio jazz-funk of the 'Makesaracket' album on Clear. 1996 saw Paradinas join forces with Richard James for Aphex's one and only collaboration album 'Mike and Rich' on Rephlex; it was also the year that Mike signed to Warp for his second Jake Slazenger album and indie chart number 1: 'Das Ist Ein Groovy Beat, Ja'.
May 1997 saw the release of 'Lunatic Harness', his third album proper, which saw µ-Ziq introducing more aspects of jungle style programming into his music (previously showcased on the 'Urmur Bile Trax' series). This time he was mixing elements of twisted hip hop, carnivalesque synths, toy-town world music and - what became known as - 'drill & bass' with his own inimitable style. Though he may incorporate these elements in his music, Mike never lets these influences smother a track entirely, instead mixing it all up into an end result that is both innovative and new. At 50,000 worldwide sales & counting, album of the week in both NME and Melody Maker, many others thought so too.
20 years ago Mike launched his own independent record label 'Planet Mu' releasing material by Venetian Snares, Remarc, Vex'd, Machinedrum, Kuedo & Jlin amongst many many others, including some of his own projects 'Kid Spatula' & the 'Slag Boom Van Loon' collaborations with Jochem Paap (aka Speedy J). Now over 350 releases old, Planet Mu has become one of the mainstays of the electronic music scene along with Ninjatune and Warp records, gaining more respect with every year that passes.
In July '99 Mike released 'Royal Astronomy' on Virgin Records' 'Hut Recordings' subsiduary. Musically a sizeable shift from 'Lunatic Harness', the album focused more on his orchestral leanings (which were already present on 'In Pine Effect') and he was further inspired (as support act on her 1998 Homogenic tour) by Björk's use of live string sections in her shows. The album revealed a more poppy and melodic side to Paradinas than on previous occasions, while taking care not to discard any of the innovative programming and cutting edge beats that he'd become renowned for. The album was preceded by aa single 'The Fear', an infeciously haunting vocal track with pastoral strings underpinned by a Northern Soul mid-tempo shuffler rhythm, displayting the versatile nature of Paradinas' output.
In 2003 Paradinas' Planet Mu label released one of their most successful records to date: 'Bilious Paths', Mike's 10th album as µ-Ziq. 12 tracks of hard cut-up breaks and electronics, distorted washes of melodic detrius and occasional serene ambience. Much of the album charted new territory for Paradinas, like the opening track 'Johnny Maastricht' which was inspired by the then new and emerging Garage sounds which would eventually coelesce into Dubstep and Grime, but with Mike's own trademark melodic sensibilities taking the place of the bass and the 'Grape Nut Beats' duo of tracks which mixed 6/8 gabber/tekno, old skool rave and nu-skool breaks to devestating effect. 'On/Off featured the vocal 'talents' of Ghostly's Mike Dykehouse (who has also released on Planet Mu) embellishing a dirty-bass electro anthem about panties. 'Bilious Paths' has gone on to sell over fifteen thousand copies worldwide.
Selected discography µ-Ziq
Tango n' Vectif (1993)
Bluff Limbo (1994)
µ-Ziq Vs The Auteurs(1994)
In Pine Effect (1995)
Lunatic Harness (1997)
Royal Astronomy (1999)
Bilious Paths (2003)
Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique (2007)
Chewed Corners (2013)
Phi*1700 (U/V) (1994)
Salsa with Mesquite (1995)
Urmur Bile Trax Volume 1 & 2 (1997)
My Little Beautiful (1997)
Brace Yourself (1998)
The Fear (1999)
Ease Up (2005)
As Tusken Raiders / Rude Ass Tinker
Bantha Trax (1995)
Bantha Trax Vol. 2 (1999)
The Motorbike Track (1999)
Imperial Break/Silk Ties (2001)
As Jake Slazenger
Das Ist Ein Groovybeat, Ja (1996)
Pewter Dragon (2006)
As Kid Spatula
Spatula Freak (1995)
Full Sunken Breaks (2000)
As Gary Moscheles
Shaped to Make Your Life Easier (1996)
Diesel M (with Marco Jerrentrup)
M for Multiple (1993)
Mike & Rich (with Richard D. James aka Aphex Twin)
Expert Knob Twiddlers (1996)
Slag Boom Van Loon (with Jochem Paap aka Speedy J)
Slag Boom Van Loon (1998)
So Soon (2001)