u-Ziq
Chewed Corners


4.5
superb

Review

by TMobotron CONTRIBUTOR (25 Reviews)
July 20th, 2013 | 146 replies


Release Date: 06/25/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Better than Tomorrow's Harvest.

Michael Paradinas never received the attention that his fellow IDMers earned. Sure, he has never put out an album as impacting as Music Has The Right To Children, Tri Repetae, or Selected Ambient Works 85-92, but he deserves the attention all the same. Maybe not solely for his work under the ų-Ziq name, but as the runner of the brilliant Planet Mu label Paradinas has consistently helped put out groundbreaking work from too many artists to count, ranging from a good chunk of Venetian Snares's best work to some of Benga's early genre-defining dubstep. That isn't to detract from the actual musical output of ų-Ziq, which has been consistently solid and at times reaching the greatness of the producers whose shadows he works within. Unfortunately, most of his best and truly outstanding personal output lies within his early work, and while his latest releases are at the very least interesting, they've typically failed to capture the mesmerizing charm that defines his best albums. His Somerset Avenue Tracks (1992-1995) compilation that was put out in late February this year compiled unreleased work from the titular era, and it managed to out-shine a good bit of his work in the last 15 years or so. It's a risky move for ų-Ziq to release Chewed Corners so shortly after such an obvious display of his early talent, as comparisons between the two are inevitable. Good news though, because one listen to Chewed Corners will completely explain ų-Ziq's confidence. Chewed Corners is Paradinas's best and most inspired work since the 90s.

Most of the work on here is rooted in the calculated restraint that defines Autechre's most captivatingly hypnotic work, and yet it's ų-Ziq's willingness to let up on that restraint that makes Chewed Corners the gleefully indulgent piece that it is. Specifically, central track “Houzz 10” seems to work as the standout of the album. The track just feels ready to burst at any moment, firing on all cylinders from the word “go” with a simplistic and infectious piano melody that feels like it's on the brink of collapse the entire time, running the forefront of the track's dense melodiousness until it finally fades back out into the more controlled tracks that surround it. Although “Houzz 10” runs the risk that standouts always do of being the track that the rest of the album fails to live up to, it works instead more like the climax of a great movie – and Chewed Corners is undeniably a cinematic affair. There's a consistent energy and passion that can be found on the most routine tracks of the album, but the frantic pacing and uneasy fragility of “Houzz 10” wouldn't be so memorable and startling if it wasn't surrounded by the blissfully chilled-out retro-futurism of tracks like “Twangle Melkas” or the smooth, sparkling melodies that dominate “Mountain Island Boner”.

Chewed Corners lands itself in a unique field of IDM, though bits and pieces of it are borrowed from the familiar, the most obvious of which is its machine-like percussion that Autechre and Aphex Twin used as a backbone for their best creations. But the striking difference comes from how energized, dense, and modern the overall aesthetic is. The synth-work is usually more colorful and always more bombastic than what's typically expected out of the genre, though the album is still rhythmically entrancing with its percussive precision – which has also received a modern upgrade. Little hints of the influence of Planet Mu's members can be found in the half-time swing of “Monyth”, the stuttering hi-hats of “Christ Dust”, and the futuristic glow of the neon-streaked textures. And while the sounds present here seem to all be from the same palette, the similarities work to unify the album rather than make it feel homogenous thanks to ų-Ziq's ability to capture so many different feelings with them. “Taikon” is eerie, “Hug” is calming, and most surprisingly “Weakling Paradinas” is downright ecstatic and the perfect sendoff for an album that's such a triumph.

If Music Has The Right To Children deserves mounds of praise for its ability to evoke nostalgic moods and memories, Chewed Corners deserves the same for its ability to create new ones. In a year where Boards of Canada and Autechre have both released brand new albums, it would be easy and understandable to skip over ų-Ziq's latest. But it would also be a very big mistake.



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2013


7124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mountain Island Boner reminds me of The Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius" and I love it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w681eY6-13A

Cygnatti
July 20th 2013


21352 Comments


I was just getting ready to listen to this guy's music too

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

Rail
July 20th 2013


533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The last track on this is amazing. From when those trancey sounds come in around the middle until the end, it's utterly euphoric.

Digging: Phaeleh - A World Without

PunchforPunch
July 20th 2013


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

b-but TH is amazing!!

Digging: Robert Hood - Fabric 39

Gyromania
July 20th 2013


15773 Comments


funny album summary :P

this album is absolutely immense - and good work on the review

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2013


7124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah last track rules.

I like TH quite a lot, this is just better.

Thanks Gyro, lovin the 4.5.

mindleviticus
July 20th 2013


8237 Comments


This album is actually so weak and I'll actually go to say it's weaker than Royal Astronomy. It is so
immensely boring, I can't stand it. This overly plastic and cheap sound he's traded his signature
sound for is just embarrassing and especially when he's capable of so much more. I fucking love Tango
and Lunatic Harness but lately this guy has just been so boring and weak.

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

Rev
July 20th 2013


9428 Comments


I need this

somnolence
July 20th 2013


405 Comments





Tomorrow's Harvest sucks ----> mediocre

Gyromania
July 20th 2013


15773 Comments


i can see why someone would think this is boring, but i'm listening on a pair of pulse-tech headphones and it sounds unreal to me. lunatic harness is for sure the better album as far as innovation goes, and i for one think it's a lot prettier, but this is pretty enjoyable if you're just looking for something to throw on for senseless fun. what are you listening to it with?

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2013


7124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is IMO pretty much the least boring thing I've listened to all year. It roped me in on first listen and has just been growing since. I guess if you find the synth work cheap and plastic I get it, but I don't get that vibe at all, and it's always pretty densely layered too which let this unfold over multiple listens for me.

scissorlocked
July 20th 2013


3510 Comments


nice write up man,will definitely check this

Paradinas also released a nice album under the Heterotic moniker

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2013


7124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet ill have to look into it. That Somerset comp is really worth checking out too (that might be a good one for you to check out mindle, if you haven't).

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2013


3454 Comments


I'll definitely check this soon. Fantastic review, I don't see why you don't write more. Have a pos, would you like some criticism?


Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
July 21st 2013


18519 Comments


my aoty and probably will stay that way, classy review as well. when i heard houzz 10 i was scared the rest of the album wouldnt hold up but luckily i didnt have to worry, pretty much every track rules

Digging: Objekt - Flatland

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2013


7124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm trying to write more, I have a lot of trouble with it though. I can't get myself to put the words out unless I feel really strongly about it. Thanks for the good words all and yeah brostep always welcome.

Keyblade
July 21st 2013


14886 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review bro. Album is amazing

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2013


7124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome, glad you dig it key, I was just thinking about shoutboxin you.

mindleviticus
July 21st 2013


8237 Comments


I've given it a few good solid listens and I honestly can't get over the fact this is u-Ziq

And what is the Somerset comp you're talking about? :]

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
July 21st 2013


7124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's too bad, you don't even dig houzz 10? Somerset avenue tracks is a comp of u-ziqs unreleased work from 92-95. It's real solid.



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