Review Summary: A basement and a keyboard can take you a long way.
Tango N' Vectiv will hit like a brick. There are a very small number of albums that have affected me this quickly and drastically. In 1993, taking the name of his old band that he played in with friends, u-Ziq released Tango N' Vectiv. The really incredible part behind all of this is that Mike Paradinas (the man behind the album) was living in his mother's home, creating all of this music in a basement on a Casio FZ-1 keyboard with no musical training. The entire album itself is gold, but scattered throughout it are diamonds of songs. Take, "Beatnik #2" for example. Immediately from the start, Paradinas greets the listener with a eightbit-esque loop, that travels throughout the entire song. Layered upon the song are heavy synths, drums, cymbals, and a faint humming sounds that varies in pitch. What you are left with is practically one of the most captivating and comforting songs ever produced. Imagine yourself residing in an extremely difficult video game's "safe-zone", right after facing that boss that took two hundred and twenty two retries to defeat. In fact, most of the album itself could be described as music fitting to that boss battle. The drum loops on various songs are extremely distorted and aggressive, the atmosphere is very dire and heavy, but at the same time contains an intense amount of energy.
This album isn't frustrating or tiring to understand or enjoy, though. Accompanied by the comforting and the aggressive songs are catchy ones as well. "The Sonic Fox" has a very bouncy loop, structured with an incredible light hearted synth that accompanies it throughout. Creativity on this album is endless, and the song is a great example of that. As soon as you feel as though the sound u-Ziq is creating on the track is understood and losing it's immediate appeal - halfway through the song he chops it up and mixes the notes up to create even further enjoyment out of what was initially created. Throughout the album's songs you'll hear streams of hisses, bubbles, bumps, rettles, squeaks, whistles, moans, sighs, twitters, clanks, chimes, muffled explosions, unmuffled explosions, and even a sound that closely resembles being trapped in a vacuum cleaner. And to an extent, that's exactly what this album almost feels like. Paradinas is caught in his own vacuum, creating all of these honest and energetic sounds with absolutely no one or anything to limit him. The ideas are expressed and communicated to the listener so exceptionally that it's almost impossible to not comprehend and by doing so, it creates it's own distinct sound.
Paradinas was without a doubt ahead of his time. His experimental journey has created some of the most enjoyable atmospheres I've ever heard in music (even outside this genre). Prior to this album, I viewed electronic music in an entirely different light compared to how I do now. And I think the reason for that is how truly emotional this album is. You won't find those tracks where you feel like the artist is just throwing "whatever" into his/her sound to create a beefed up track. To be honest, that's what always drove me away from electronic music - it's hard to find something soulful, emotional, something you can truly grasp onto and feel (the closest thing that ever came to this was The Avalanches' "Since I Left You"). u-Ziq acknowledges this and most definitely understands it, with "Phragmal Synthesis Pt. 1" being a clear indicator of that. He loads up the sound to the complete brim, with a great amount of swells and a catchy drum loop which leaves the audience in an extremely soothed state, but he makes sure to keep it very simple and direct (not bogging it down) - because this particular song doesn't need any more, it's fine the way it its. And right when you understand the feel he's trying to transmit in the song - once again, his creativity shines by taking you to both Pt. 2 and 3 of it which keep the core aspects, but reveal it in a different attitude or manner. Keeping the entire album fun and playful is what I believe u-Ziq does best. You're always engrossed in the atmosphere he's creating, predicting what may come next, and being surprised and content when it surpasses those expectations.
Accessibility is always something I've admired in an album. Sure, I love being challenged by the odd structure of a song or just the downright obscurity of a sound it's creating, but sometimes I really enjoy just sitting back and enjoying the ride. This, to me, is "Tango N' Vectif's" most redeemable quality. On my first listen, I was pretty much amazed by everything that was going on and loved it, and I'm not even too familiar with the genre. With that being said, I encourage anyone who listens to any type of music to check this album out because it flew under the radar of the public eye way too hard. I was completely shocked that the 93' release of the album was only rated seventeen times, was even more appalled that the re-release wasn't even on here, and on top of all of that the original didn't even have a review. To me, there are two types of music; good and bad. Tango N' Vectiv provides two hours of thoughtful music to zone out to, or to really pick apart and focus on and it's incredible. The album is definitely something that I pride myself in listening to and enjoy, because that's how music always should be. u-Ziq is without a doubt a master of his trade, and judging by the choice of his name; I can bet we share similar sentiments.