Balmat • 2023

Mike Paradinas has been a part of British rave culture from the very beginning. He was one of the first artists to experiment with breakbeats and knew how to use their then subversive potential. With his label Planet µ and under the alias µ-Ziq, he remained true to dance music far away from four-to-the-floor beats. All the more surprising is »1977«, which features lots of ambient and with »Houzz 13« even a quite clearly themed house number. Paradinas is barely recognisable as the weirdo who has dedicated his life to jungle and its derivatives. He shows himself to be almost naïve at times on this LP, often leaning towards the beautiful and the light. 

With its creeping kick and ominous keys, »Belt & Carpet« conjures up a menacing atmosphere reminiscent of the mystery films of the 70s and 80s. The same goes for the sawing »Marmite« that follows, which can only really be produced by someone who is deeply disgusted by the real thing. Quite different are the opening tracks »4am«, »Burnt Orange« and »Lime Aero«, which oscillate between the melody-loving Squarepusher of recent years and the cinematic output of Oneohtrix Point Nevers. 

What is also striking is Paradina’s unorthodox use of vocals that find use more as onomatopoeic, tone-setting elements than as sampled references. This is more reminiscent of contemporary Dutch artists like Oceanic or upsammy than the British rave heritage. »Mesolithic Jungle« ultimately delivers breaks that are as sincere as they are effectively drenched in nostalgia as the rest of the album.