Release Date: Apr 22, 2014
Record label: Planet Mu
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
In the Nineties, Mike Paradinas was probably best known for pioneering leftfield techno under his μ-Ziq moniker, helping to shape the course of IDM alongside contemporaries Autechre and Aphex Twin. But the last few years have seen him mostly shun recording to focus on his day job as boss of Planet Mu; firmly establishing it as one of electronica's most consistent and forward thinking labels. Recently, though, he's inched back into the spotlight: last year there was both a μ-Ziq retrospective and a new record, Chewed Corners and most surprising of all, Heterotic's debut LP, Love & Devotion.
Opposites attract. It's a silly cliché, but that's what Heterotic, the husband and wife duo of Mike Paradinas and Lara Rix-Martin, is all about. Their debut from last year, Love & Devotion, see-sawed between dark and romantic, rarely finding a comfortable spot in the middle. Part of that came from guest singer Gravenhurst, whose folky whispers gave the LP a regal quality but also muted whatever sexual energy it might have had.
Throughout his 20-year career, Mike Paradinas has peppered his fruitful career (as ?-Ziq) with a handful of collaborations that have seen the Wimbledon producer work with heady artists like Marco Jerrentrup, Speedy J and Aphex Twin. With Heterotic, Paradinas has found a musical project that seems, sonically and personally, close to his heart. Recording with his wife, Lara Rix-Martin, the music of Heterotic is a tempered blend of spacey synthesizers, analog drum machine beats and mournful vocals, courtesy of French artist Vezelay.
Half the fun of listening to Heterotic’s Weird Drift is trying to pin down exactly what kind of record it is. On their second album together, Planet Mu founder Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq) and his wife Lara Rix-Martin flirt with a dozen or more styles and subgenres without settling on any particular one for very long. The opening track, “Self Importance,” with its pulsating arpeggios and reverb-y synth strings, oscillates between 1980s acid house and '80s horror movie soundtrack vibes; from there, they make their way through gothy ambience, funky electro-pop, and sleek techno.
Under the Heterotic moniker, Planet Mu chief Mike Paradinas (he of µ-Ziq fame) and wife Lara Rix-Martin served up one of the most refreshingly satisfying debuts in recent times last year with the release of Love & Devotion, an unashamedly early ‘8os influenced synth-based collection that benefitted from an intriguing twist of house. The album featured psychedelic folk’s Gravenhurst (Nick Talbot) on vocals, which created a perfect combination, sounding at times like a new dawn for the future of music. This time around, the Brighton duo have enlisted the wispier talents of French vocalist Matthieu Le Berre (aka Vezelay) and the results differ considerably from the debut, with vocals floating above electronica like a delicate musical instrument rather than a vocal performance.
With Heterotic, progressive Brit label Planet Mu swaps futuristic dance for an excursion into indie R&B. Fronted by Mu’s own founder Mike Paradinas, the duo’s deliciously ’80s soul-pop ballads are both elegantly blissful and headily atmospheric. A caramel watercolour of prom-night romance and soft melancholy, the keynote ‘Rain’ is a thing of beauty.
Heterotic, the duo of Planet Mu founder Mike Paradinas and his wife Lara Rix-Martin, made their debut early last year with Love & Devotion. An album of sweetly textured synth-pop that made good use of the vocal talents of Gravehurst’s Nick Talbot, it was, on the surface at least, a far cry from the music that Paradinas has become known for under his most famed pseudonym, ?-Ziq – a jittery, exploratory hybrid of techno and breakbeat that all but defined the genre known as IDM. Such is the alien intensity of the music Paradinas made in the ‘90s that it’s easy to perceive any music that he makes that strays outside of this template as cause for raised eyebrows.