µ-Ziq Challenge Me Foolish

µ-Ziq Challenge Me Foolish
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In 1999, Mike Paradinas (aka µ-Ziq) followed up his genre-defining opus, Lunatic Harness, with the coolly received Royal Astronomy, an album full of peppy baroque-inspired numbers released during an era where icy IDM was at its peak.
 
Nearly two decades later, Paradinas revisits that odd era, unearthing Challenge Me Foolish, a collection of songs originally recorded in the late '90s that come off like a blend between his early, brainer work, and the loose vibe found on Royal Astronomy. At 14 tracks and just under an hour, Paradinas seems completely inspired and committed to creating something fresh and out of step with his peers; "Undone" uses major key bells and squiggly synth lines to craft something jaunty and rhythmic, while "Robin Hood Gate" cops the same sentiment and simply cranks up the synth drama.
 
Despite its sonic makeover, much of Challenge Me Foolish covers similar ground, with the exception of the lush, space-aged "Durian" (featuring Japanese vocalist Kazumi), the tempered drum hip-hop beats of "Playbox," and the album highlight "Lexicon" (which happens to lift its sound from same-era Aphex Twin). As there's been no sign of new material from Paradinas in the past half-decade, Challenge Me Foolish is just interesting and familiar enough to keep µ-Ziq fans satiated, even if it is inferior to Royal Astronomy. (Planet Mu)