Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Extortion(ately Good) Racket

Jake Slazenger - Megaphonk
Jake Slazenger - ERP

The shelves in our lounge have finally given way under the heavy load of CD’s I’ve been piling on them over the past couple of years. The CD’s were stacked double deep, and in shifting them out in readiness for getting new shelves fitted, I came across loads of albums and singles I had completely forgotten I owned. I have unearthed some proper gems, and my gain is yours too as I intend to post plenty of tracks from this forgotten archive over the coming months.

I came across an extensive collection of music by the insanely prolific Mike Paradinas, perhaps best known under his µ-ziq alias. These days, Mike P is often overlooked (and the irony of the location of his music in my collection is not lost on me!) by the hardcore electronic heads, who hero-worship Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Autechre, but seem to have a lack of respect for Mike P and his undoubted skills. I think this is mainly down to the fact that he is perceived to have compromised his own talent in favour of promoting less worthy artists on his own label Planet µ, which seems to release a ton of records every month, the quality of which varies greatly.

Mike P released two absolutely essential electronic albums as µ-ziq, ‘Tango N’ Vectif’ (1993) and ‘Bluff Limbo’ (1994), both released by Rephlex, which I will definitely be coming back to soon. But I wanted to kick off by posting some tracks from Jake Slazenger, one of many of Mike P’s many alter egos. ‘Makesaracket’ by Jake Slazenger was released on the brilliant Clear Records in 1995. Clear’s speciality was an updated form of old school electro, cunningly titled nu-skool electro, which as well as taking on much of sensibilities of the original music, also utilised tag-graffiti style typesetting to give the initial releases a truly authentic feel, along with lovely clear vinyl for extra loveliness.

As well as being the first full-lengther Mike P released under an alias, it was also the first artist album Clear released after a succession of top 12s from artists including the Jedi Knights (who debuted on Clear), Plaid and Tusken Raiders (also Mike P). ‘Makesaracket’ was Mike P letting his curly barnet down and having a right larf with some feel-good, funked-up electro. That’s not to say the music was frivolous, but if you check the opening track ‘Megaphonk’, you’ll get the general idea of where his head was at. A cheesy melody line worthy of usurping the ‘Grange Hill’ tune in the affections of all kids of the 1980s is the central motif, with some big ole fat dustbin drums and seriously groovy jazz hands letting rip on the keys all combine to make this an absolute corker - the sort of song that can make your day. ‘ERP’ demonstrates Mike P’s superlative drum programming skills, as he cuts loose on the 808, applying a touch of Mr Muscle to some old school electro beats, leaving them sparkling like they're brand new. A whopper of a bass drum and another shit-eating grin of a melody completes the picture. Fresh is the word…

Jake Slazenger returned last year, a full decade after the release of his second album 'Das Ist Ein Groovybeat, Ja?' on Warp Records. Buy the comeback 7" from Boomkat, and keep yer fingers crossed for another LP!
Search for Jake Slazenger on eBay
Jake Slazenger discography
Illustrated Clear Records discography here
Planet-Mu website