u-Ziq
Lunatic Harness


4.5
superb

Review

by Alex McMillan USER (2 Reviews)
January 3rd, 2010 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Connoisseurs of electronica will already be aware of Mike Paradinas. After exhausting all of Richard James' material, anyone new to the genre may be looking for an alternative out of the Rephlex label. Lunatic Harness delivers.

Electronic music and dance music are distinct but related entities in the music world. When they converge on each other, you quite often receive something mainstream adores and obscurity shuns: electropop, club techno, etc. Those who listen to electronic music defined in the traditional sense are wary of the inherent tendency of such subgenres to appeal to a broad demographic.Those that enjoy electronic music, as with any other genre, tread lightly through the veritable minefield with every observation they make. Much like with metal, generalizations are bad. However, I am taking time to mention this theory because of one of the exceptions to the watered-down synthesis created by the dance influence. This exception is the discography of IDM artist Mike Paradinas, better known by his alias u-Ziq.

Of course, many have expressed their distaste with the label "IDM", which stands for Intelligent Dance Music. While I must agree that it comes off as a statement of superiority over other electronic music at first, it is ultimately justified by the style of Paradinas' work: carefully crafted pieces mixing ambience and a large drum and bass influence. The result is an astoundingly deep soundscape that Lunatic Harness, while by no means an extravagant revolution, will demonstrate to the uninformed listener, and what IDM entails.

The album pulls off a humble series of intriguing tracks, each with their own unique quirks. There are a few variations in the general flow of the album, and for much of the duration it may be difficult to put one's finger on just what the hell she or he is listening to. Slightly more ambient pieces transform into faster ones halfway through. This requires the listener's patience before the true nature of a particular track -much like the album itself - is revealed. The songs aren't rampant by any means when they go into this so called "second gear". That said, the tracks from "My Little Beautiful" onwards are a tad softer and less conventional than the others, which are more straightforward in their presentation. For example, listeners will no doubt be impressed with the heart-tugging lament and urgency inspired by both the sound and title of "Hasty Boom Alert" - a personal favorite of the author's.

"My Little Beautiful", however, will take some acquaintance, as this oddball presents a rather uncharacteristic early 90's movie-like theme. This is where the patience should be demonstrated, as it actually builds into something quite nice and retains the opening theme, albeit subtly. "Wannabe", the only creepy track, is something you will either enjoy or never want to hear again, with growling, oily vocals repeating a stalker-like refrain in tandem with crunching beats. For the rest, two-to-three playthroughs are prerequisite for turning the irk - stemming from the semi-cheesy loops Paradinas incorporates - into appreciation. "Midwinter Log", and the "Secret Stair" pair, like track 7, may be difficult to listen to because of their strange violin synths and departure from the thrilling pace of "Brace Yourself Jason".

Lunatic Harness defines itself as being a true-to-form and complex electronic work, while avoiding becoming too ambient and free-floating; conversely, it does so without falling back on drum and bass too heavily as well. This is a balance rather difficult to fine-tune, as seen in the later works of fellow artist Aphex Twin, that attempted the mixture but only achieved it very sporadically. Lunatic Harness has not a trace of filler -looking at you, drukqs- and while its experimentation may leave some confounded for a few brief and awkward moments, it is forgivable once the listener finally figures out and accepts it's deviational nature. This is very much attributed to the lack of structure - it no doubt serves the album well in this instance - as well as the flavor of the opener that carries throughout the entire collection to counteract the flippancy. A quirky listen, strongly recommended.


user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Enotron
January 3rd 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review, great album

Skyler
January 3rd 2010


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

indeed

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2010


15743 Comments


shit why can't i find the greer quote when i need it someone hook me up here

72Alexander27
January 4th 2010


49 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I should have said something about "Blainville"... Oh well.

MassiveAttack
January 4th 2010


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed, Mr. Reviewer =]

Willie
Moderator
January 5th 2010


16149 Comments


Good review. This is an awesome album. My only suggestion would be to drop the bold from the song titles.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

72Alexander27
January 5th 2010


49 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the advice, it does look better now.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2010


15743 Comments


Well if you're an idiot and don't understand the joke of subbing in a Greek letter which phonetically gives the first syllable of the word "music" then maybe you aren't smart enough to be listening to Intelligent Dance Music.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2010


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

how did i let downer beat me to this

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2010


16089 Comments


I would like to point out this fresh batch of lols was inspired by John Hanson.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 10th 2010


15743 Comments


how did i let downer beat me to this


Ryan even asked you what the exact quote was come onnnn

Meatplow
January 10th 2010


5524 Comments


the term electronica bothers me more than it probably should

PuddlesPuddles
January 10th 2010


4787 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

what about electronigaze

Meatplow
January 10th 2010


5524 Comments


idk about that but "electronic music" seems more appropriate

i shalt not foul my tongue with such MTV generation umbrella terms

[img]http://i49.tinypic.com/auw0g4.jpg[/img]

72Alexander27
February 7th 2010


49 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I did a major overhaul of this, check it.

VeryCatchyUsername
December 19th 2010


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The analog crunchy-ness of the drums in combination with the great melodies help create what can be
only be defined as a classic within the IDM genre. And the diversity is astonishing, too.
Approaching menace simply slays with it's dark atmosphere and crudely chopped, distorted drums,
whereas Hasty Boom Alert is one of the warmest bits of IDM synth-fests ever made.

@cendre: no comments for over half a year, and then two within a span of 30 minutes? Sweet
coincidence.

cendre
December 19th 2010


19 Comments


secret stair 1 & 2 way better than the rest of the album

foxblood
May 27th 2013


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this has a really unique sound to it

bach
July 10th 2013


13150 Comments


damn this is pretty good too.

Digging: Mirroring - Foreign Body

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 10th 2013


19064 Comments


gotta check only heard the first 2 and both the new ones

Digging: Objekt - Objekt #2



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