µ-ZIQ

The title of Mike Paradinas’s spastic first album, Tango ‘N’ Vectif (1993), means a diatribe against dancing, and indeed, Paradinas, aka µ-ziq, occupies a deluxe La-Z-Boy in the pantheon of armchair technoheads who’d rather work a rebus than give up the funk. But even at his driest–unlike Squarepusher or Autechre, whose overriding goal seems to be alienating anyone who isn’t in on the joke–Paradinas flirts with a melodic opulence that borders on pop. His latest album, Royal Astronomy (Astralwerks), is his most accessible to date–which isn’t to slight its head-fucking capabilities. Though Paradinas claimed to have no idea what the word “baroque” meant in a recent interview, Royal Astronomy has more than its share of “artistic expression…marked generally by use of complex forms, bold ornamentation, and the juxtaposition of contrasting elements often conveying a sense of drama, movement, and tension.” The gorgeous string-heavy “Scaling” makes a bid for classical respectability, while the more elaborate “Slice” and “The Hwicci Song” light out into odder but still clearly delineated sonic territory. There are even a couple songs featuring real (as in not sampled) vocals, by a woman named Kazumi, that fit right in without sounding like hasty pop compromises (a la DJ Rap) or tenth-grade poetry readings (a la Krust). And “The Motorbike Track,” a relatively straightforward drum ‘n’ bass excursion, comes with a built-in self-critique: over a funky acid riff and a sped-up interpolation of the break from Lyn Collins’s “Think (About It)” (previously immortalized on Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two”) a voice complains, “Knock that shit off, for real.” Be forewarned that Paradinas’s live presentation isn’t quite as layered as his recordings: a minimal video and light show are the only visual attraction, and as he bluntly told the Web zine Perfect Sound Forever, “It’s not a rock band and we’re not performers.” Also on the bill: Luke Vibert and BJ Cole, DJ Jethrox. Saturday, 11 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

Michaelangelo Matos

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Amber Rowlands.