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Squeak And Freak The Beat

Urmur Bile Trax Volume 1 And 2

This album marks sort of yet another turning point in the sound of Mr. Mike Paradinas (aka -ziq, aka Jake Slazenger). Whereas his first few albums were marked with slower, sort of lumbering and distorted electronic feats, he's slowly been adding new sounds and arrangements over the course of his releases his sound has progressed likewise. On Urmur Bile Trax Volume 1 and 2 (a collection of 2 vinyl EPs), he's seemingly thrown his old style almost completely out the window and instead sped up his beats and infused his music with what the kids these days like to call drill and bass. As with most turning-point albums, there is some stumbling with the sound, but Paradinas is quite a talented musician, and manages to pull things off pretty well most of the time.

The main problem with the songs on the disc (and something that plagues the very first track on the release) is that they simply run too long most of the time. The opening title-track of "Urmur Bile" has a ripping breakbeat and some goofy sped-up samples of what could be James Brown pulling a groin muscle, but at over 9 minutes long, it simply wears out it's welcome by the time it all winds down. The second track on the disc "Let Let" starts out with a bit of slowed down saxophone stylings on a sample by Ornette Coleman before picking up with some of the goofiest (and I mean that as a compliment) quick little sample bursts I've heard. Like the first one, the bass is layered in thick, and the track is one of the standouts on the album with its pseudo-lounge feel (sort of like Plug's later Drum And Bass For Papa). The third track "M5 Saabtone" starts out with more of those super cut-up little quirky bits and, but unfortunately it suffers a bit from long length and lack of variation as well.

After the toned-down beats (meaning they aren't going breakbeat schizo) of "Fine Tuning" and "The Hydrozone," the disc goes into the pitch-changing madness of "1 Hip 007." Starting out at a fairly quick rate, the track drops off on successive measures until its grinding along like an older -ziq track. Of course, this doesn't last, and eventually the wicked beat kicks back into full speed. Even though it clocks in at nearly 13 minutes, it's one of the more solid tracks on the album, with changeups every couple minutes and a completely huge middle section that layers on some thick bass. "Hornet" is another drum and dazer infused with a bit of lounge, while "The Phonic Socks" squeaks and freaks over some more wacky beats.

As mentioned above, it's a pretty decent affair, but many of the songs could have been shaved off a bit and it would have helped the flow a little better. Also, although the tracks change up some, the album isn't nearly as varied and solid as Paradinas' next effort Lunatic Harness, when he really comes into the new sound and gives it his own unique flavor.

Rating: 6