A delightful mix of wacky handmade electronic goodness from Planet Mu boss Mike Paradinas, aka μ-Ziq.

Back in the mid-1980s, young keyboardist Mike Paradinas began experimenting with synthesizers, drum machines and a 4-track cassette recorder. He’d been playing original songs and covers with electro-pop band Blue Innocence and when the band split in 1993, Paradinas was already prepared to walk his own path.

Alongside Blue Innocence’s bassist Francis Naughton, Paradinas had produced a slew of innovative tracks under the μ-Ziq moniker that Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, had showed an interest in. A few of these tracks were compiled and released on James’s Rephlex imprint in 1993 as Tango N’ Vectif, but Naughton’s interest in the project had already dried up by the time the album emerged. Paradinas, on the other hand, had already completed its follow-up, Bluff Limbo, even if it wouldn’t be widely available until 1996.

At this stage, Paradinas went from strength to strength, experimenting with different monikers – Jake Slazenger, Kid Spatula, Gary Moscheles and Tusken Raiders, among others – and collaborating with Richard D. James (as Mike & Rich), Speedy J (as Slag Boom Van Loon) and Luke Vibert (as Smooth Helmet).

In 1995, he established his own record label, Planet Mu. First an outlet for his own material, the label was soon a platform for highlighting likeminded artists from across the globe. In over two decades, Paradinas has released records from Venetian Snares, Jega, Shitmat, Virus Syndicate, Mary Anne Hobbes, Floating Points, Traxman, Pinch and plenty more, highlighting IDM, dubstep, grime and footwork sounds long before many of his contemporaries. More importantly, he also never stopped producing his own tracks.

This spring, Paradinas is releasing Challenge Me Foolish, a “lost” album recorded in 1998-1999, when he was touring with Björk and had put out the brilliant Royal Astronomy. Optimistic and delightfully poppy, the album features a slew of collaborations with Japanese vocalist Kazumi and contains some of Paradinas’s most whimsical productions to date.

This bumper FACT mix is a celebration of Paradinas’s recorded output, collecting up a diverse selection of unreleased loosies, from a sizzling remix of Anneka’s ‘Beast’ to unheard collaborations with Daniel O’Sullivan and Vezelay. It’s a bizarre and brilliant journey into the mind of one of the UK’s most intriguing producers and curators.

Challenge Me Foolish will be released on April 13 via Planet Mu.

Tracklist:

01 µ-Ziq – ‘Splillilly’
02 µ-Ziq – ‘Ploghity’
03 Anneka – ‘Beast’ (µ-Ziq Remix)
04 µ-Ziq – ‘Cherk’
05 µ-Ziq & Daniel O’Sullivan – ‘Utopiary’
06 µ-Ziq – ‘Bleak’
07 µ-Ziq – ‘Number’
08 µ-Ziq – ‘Honey Miss Koko’
09 µ-Ziq – ‘Rainy Day’
10 µ-Ziq – ‘Klumper’
11 µ-Ziq & Vezelay – ‘Mug’
12 Shanice – ‘I Love You Smile’ (Heterotic Remix)
13 µ-Ziq – ‘Oh Yeah’
14 µ-Ziq – ‘Rodeo’
15 µ-Ziq – ‘Plem’
16 µ-Ziq – ‘Blauwasser’
17 µ-Ziq – ‘Detroit Bass’

Read next: In an orbit of its own – An oral history of Planet Mu

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