µ-Ziq: Chewed Corners (Planet µ)
Planet µ owner Mike Paradinas has released a new album under his signature moniker after several years’ pause. Admittedly it’s been even longer for me since I’ve heard his music, having missed the last couple µ-Ziq albums completely. Much of his earlier music (in the 90s primarily) remains close to my heart, though. The opening melody of “Taikon” takes me right back to those albums, not so much in the production style, but in the lush spirit of the music. it’s not surprising that he’s drawing inspiration from some of the outskirts of dubstep and halfbeat music, especially considering that Planet µ has been a prime outlet for dubstep, breakbeat, and its myriad fringe mutations over the last decade or longer — but the melodic core of the album is pure Paradinas at his finest. The only comparison I’d draw here is the sci-fi tinged melodic slant of Kuedo, one of my favorite signings to the label in the last several years. Synths and layered melodies are plentiful here, often with numerous effects and details that make the finished sound fairly dense and lush. I think I like the album more every time I listen to it, and it really is one that plays quite well in sequence. My favorites tend to fall in the second half, but they are best heard preceded by the front half of the album (as intended, no doubt). “Melting Bas” is a fantastic melodic excursion punctuated by arp flourishes and a handsome, bulbous bass synth and some really nice low-end on the kick, followed by “Houzz 10” which is purely gorgeous with its sparkling synth patterns and piano riffs — it verges on anthem material. The sister to “Houzz 10” is “Weakling Paradinas,” a clear case of saving the best for last. The closing track on the album is infectious and gorgeous, reminding me of the mesmerizing boost of an older track of his like “Twangle Frent” from Bluff Limbo. But I don’t mean to focus so heavily on those 2 anthems; each track is gem in its own way here, and they complement each other well to make Chewed Corners a solid album. What a nice treat to get such a solid showing from Mr. Paradinas after all this time — highly recommended.