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-ziq, Royal Astronomy (CD, 58:42); Astralwerks ASW 6275-2
Astralwerks, 1999
104 West 29th St., 4th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-886-7573 (Alison Tarnofsky)
E-mail: alison@astralwerks.com
Cyberhome: www.astralwerks.com

         -ziq, pronounced "music," is the nom de guerre of Mike Paradinas, a 
27-year-old electronic music wizard based in Britain. Royal 
Astronomy is his fifth CD under this particular pseudonym (he has 
others). One of a cadre of electronic artists that have elevated the 
techno/dance genre into a true art form, -ziq continues to craft 
startlingly original sounds, beats, and loops.
	The record opens with "Scaling," a majestic melody featuring 
a wonderful strings patch that sounds like the violin section of a 
symphony orchestra. As the tune builds, it's punctuated by timpani 
drum sounds. There's no sign of typical techno dance beats; the 
groove is implied and established solely by the strings. By opening 
his record in this fashion, -ziq is making a radical statement - not 
to mention some beautiful music. A similar strategy is employed on 
"Slice," which could have been written by Chopin. Its sophisticated 
counterpoint and catchy melody is played by keyboards that almost 
sound like children's voices. "Mentim," "Gruber's Mandolin," and 
"Goodbye, Goodbye" are also based on strong melodic material rather 
than a persistent drumbeat.
	The drumbeats do make their appearance, however, and they're 
unfailingly slamming. "The Hwicci Song," which I suppose is 
onomatopoeia for scratching turntables, sounds something like a 21st 
century Frankenstein soundtrack. "Autumn Acid" features an 
overdriven, wah-soaked keyboard bass line and a shimmying funk drum 
groove. "Carpet Muncher," an album highlight, is an uptempo yet 
understated soul song with great retro keyboard sounds. "The 
Motorbike Track" and "Burst Your Arm" are frenetic, extended dance 
cuts. In sum, it's a very entertaining ride.
~David R. Adler

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