Mike Paradinas is best known these days as the boss of Planet µ, probably the UK’s most ahead of the curve and adventurous electronic music label. But in between unearthing the most off the wall Chicago footwork, experimental dubstep and many other strange forms of new underground music to the British public. Mike has also made some of the most unhindered and exciting electronica around himself, under the name µ-Ziq (among a host of others).
With Mike P scheduled to play his first London shows for around three years, one supporting legends of a previous generation 808 State and Phuture at Koko in London on October 8th and then a headline at Cafe 1001 in Brick Lane on November 12th. We thought now was an ideal time to put together a starting guide to his varied and comprehensive catalogue of productions.
1) Aphex Twin – On (µ-Ziq mix)
One of Paradinas’ first handful of appearances on vinyl was this beautiful reworking of Aphex Twin‘s Top 20 hit ‘On’, which incorporated pure, delicate melodies and the throb of brutally industrial percussive distortion.
2) Mike & Rich – Mr. Frosty
Mike and Richard ‘Aphex’ James met at college in South London and Paradinas’ first two albums were released on the Twin’s Rephlex label, along with a masterful collection of collaborations apparently fueled by a diet of vodka and spliffs. After languishing in obscurity and inflated eBay prices for two decades, the ‘Expert Knob Twiddlers’ album is reissued this month with six extra tracks on Planet µ.
3) Jake Slazenger: Megaphonk
Mike’s work has come out under a variety of aliases, with Jake Slazenger reserved for his cheekiest and jazziest offerings. ‘Megaphonk’ has been likened to the theme tune to a 70s kids’ TV show that never got aired, with just the slightest twist of f-ked up sonic degeneration at its edges.
4)µ-Ziq – Hector’s House
Taken from Mike’s second album, the outstanding ‘Bluff Limbo’, ‘Hector’s House’ displays how the contrasting elements in his sound can rub each other up in entirely the right way. A caustic rave beat struggles to escape a harsh filter, while keyboards reminiscent of Vangelis soar high above the ensuing melee.
5) The Bowling Green: Bi-Numbers
You can probably count the number of remixes that Mike has produced in 25 years on your fingers. So The Bowling Green aka Micko Westmoreland was extremely lucky to secure this reworking, which sounds like The Human League relocated to a Sheffield warehouse rave circa 1989. Available only on highly sought after vinyl for many years, it was finally released in digital form as part of Westmoreland’s ‘Remixes’ compilation on Landline Records last month.
6) Jake Slazenger: King of the Beats
Between his albums for Rephlex and a deal with Virgin, Paradinas dropped a second Jake Slazenger album, this time for Warp. A more relaxed approach ruled, meaning there was room for simple fun workouts like this priceless electro skit.
7) µ-Ziq: Brace Yourself Jason
The deal with Virgin records followed the acclaim that greeted Mike’s early work, but far from selling out, major label status only caused him to push the envelope even further. Creating what became known as ‘drill and bass’ by taking jungle’s cut-to-ribbons drums into the realms of experimental electronica.
8) µ-Ziq: The Fear
One of the very rare moments when Mike utilised full on vocals on a track, ‘The Fear’ is a heart tugging classic and remains one of his most popular tunes to this day.
9) Kid Spatula: New Skool Bikes
Freed from his deal with Virgin, Mike concentrated on developing Planet µ as a label. Bringing everyone from longtime mate Luke Vibert to hell raising mash up king Shitmat on board, as well as reviving his Kid Spatula alter ego for a double LP.
The ‘Chewed Corners’ album in 2013 marked a return to form for Paradinas after a lengthy break, and its variety and sonic optimism showed he was back in business. ‘Houzz 10’ , for instance, could be Jeff Mills or Surrgeon jamming with Orbital.
11) µ-Ziq: Jiggery Panky
This year Mike has released two albums of unreleased old tracks, with ‘Aberystwyth Marine’ a fully formed LP that never saw the day back in the mid to late 90s. ‘Jiggery Panky’ shows off his mastery with drum and bass breaks to the max, restless and unresolved but utterly compelling.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.