-Zig's 'junk-yard' sound yields techno groove

By Noah Lopez

Arizona Daily Wildcat


-Ziq vs. the Auteurs

Astralwerks Records

-Ziq (a.k.a Michael Paradinas) is quickly becoming a major force in intelligent dance music, and with his latest deconstruction, vs. the Auteurs, it's easy to see why.

Like his friend the Aphex Twin who released Paradinas' excellent '94 outing, Tango 'n' Vectif Pardinas seems to choose his musical timbre from a noise junk yard. His songs reverberate with cacophonous din ... the sounds of metal clanging against metal, clashes and kerrangs. This isn't a Glenn Branca symphony, however. -Ziq collects his off-kilter clamor and melds it into a flowing and danceable structure.

With his latest outing, Paradinas has given himself a seemingly unhip choice of tools to work with. English rock group The Auteurs approached Paradinas to do a remix of one of the songs off their last album. Paradinas took "Lenny Valentino" and stripped it down to its base parts. Upon its reconstruction, Paradinas' three mixes of the song are completely indistinguishable from their shoddy original form. From there, Paradinas went on to reassemble three other Auteurs tracks with the same interpretive tumult.

-Ziq vs. the Auteurs brims with beats that crackle like broken woofers, faint guitar lines and strange basslines. But it never loses sight of the groove, and is easily one of the best techno releases this year.

Dog Faced Hermans

Bump & Swing

Alternative Tentacles

For those unfamiliar with the Dog Faced Hermans' indiosyncratic take on rock, Bump & Swing is a pretty good introduction. This 12-song live recording covers all the bases of the German group's eclectic sound. For the uninitiated, Dog Faced Hermans is a fair approximation of what would happen if Sonic Youth began playing ska music.

Bump & Swing captures the distorted flare of Andy's guitar and the off-key warbling of Marion's trumpet as they run through a series of originals and even an interpretation of an Ornette Coleman tune.

While all the songs are much more accessible than would seem possible from a live jamming of them, the album suffers from inferior recording. The songs are tinny, with little bass action. And while this doesn't affect Marion's strangely poignant voice think Bjork without pretense or her trumpet blaring, it leaves the guitar sounding more than a little hollow, and pushes the rhythm section nearly out of the mix completely. As such, the songs take on an intimate free jazz feel, with guitars seeming to follow a rhythmless pulse.

This is a small note of displeasure, however, as the strong songs and performances more than make up for the acoustical bankruptcy.

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