Chewed Corners feels just about right as the title of µ-Ziq’s first album in six years: it’s imperfect, frayed around the edges and intentionally jarring.
Mike Paradinas has set high personal standards in the past – his back catalogue stands up amongst the greats of electronic music, not just as µ-Ziq either – so it’s…
…wait, before we go any further, Rocksucker would like to request that someone, somewhere upload “Toronto”, his contribution as Jake Slazenger to the The Rumpus Rooms Volume One, onto YouTube or some such. It’s one of the most exhilarating pieces of music we’ve ever heard, and might we add from an excellent compilation album.
Back to Chewed Corners, and it’s almost as if it’s turned up to the party wearing the same outfit as Boards of Canada’s new album: it’s comprised primarily of skittering, brooding electronica that sounds surprisingly current in a way that stops short of satisfying.
Coming from someone who used to hyperactively fling disparate ideas at a canvass and wind up making one of the greatest and most berserk electronic albums of all time – 1999′s Royal Astronomy, since you ask – the pervading darkness is particularly unsettling.
“Christ Dust” ramps up the drama with a plastic string section that makes it sound like a track off his 1996 Jake Slazenger album Das Ist Ein Groovybeat, Ja? on its way into the eye of an electrical storm, “Wipe” is a foreboding sort of soca and “Melting Bas” takes some disorienting twists and turns.
“Hug” lightens the mood a little with its deep, popping/clicking drum machine and twisty synth bass, while the fantastically titled “Mountain Island Boner” has a nice swirling psychedelic ocean about it.
However, it’s not until the enraptured anti-rave of “Tickly Flanks” that the Paradinas of old shines through; it’s either the best track of the bunch, the most reconcilably Paradinas track of the bunch, or both of those things.
“Smooch” follows in a similar vein, and it must be said that neither it nor “Tickly Flanks” rocks the boat unduly in terms of the flow of the record. The inspired scattergun approach of yore is missed but Paradinas is entitled to move on.
Chewed Corners feels unusually streamlined for a µ-Ziq record; then again, it’s smothered in nightmarishly discordant noises. Maybe that it’s genius. Time and further listening will tell.
Chewed Corners will be released on June 24th by Planet Mu.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!