?-ziq - Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique


Score: 7.5/10

When μ-Ziq's new album leaked on the internet, it spread like a forest fire among the IDM crowd. Many of them seemed a bit peeved at the drill n' bass pioneer. "What the fuck is this shit"!" Amongst the dismayed crowd rang out the chants of "this is so disappointing," the classic "I was expecting something good," and the "Hey, it's free LEGALLY PURCHASED at least... right"" And then it appeared: accusations that maybe this album is a fake. These comments actually kept me from listening to Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique for quite a while, and I'd just like to give a big fuck you out to all those douchebags. I have to say that DASDT is perhaps one of my favorite 'μ-ziqal' releases by Mr.Paradinas. Simply put, it's brilliantly depressing.

When I first listened to the new album, I tried to relive the initial reactions of the hardcore fans and asked myself, "Could this really be a fake"" The answer became obvious within the first few tracks: NO. Though it was apparent a few things had changed, it is too well made. His personality is still quit evident. Only Mike Paradinas could design and produce an album of this caliber. I kind of understand why the authenticity was questioned though. I know his fans get their jollies taking 'shrooms and listening to Lunatic Harness, having ecstatic journeys to La La Land and tripping the light fantastic, as they trip to fantastic lights. Let me just put this out there: a lot of you aren't going to like this album. If you're expecting the upbeat, playful, quirkiness of his past albums, sorry folks, maybe next time. As far as mood goes, this is a bizarro, evil twin, and alternate dimension album in comparison to his back catalog. The reality of it, though, is the album is just the product of someone who's life has been shit on, and apparently, Mr. Paradinas is an honest man. He does't hide it, he expresses it, because music is about expression and experiences, and it's safe to say the emotional honesty of this album is pretty strong.

Honestly, I've never heard an electronic artist be this straightforward about how he's feeling (unless Aphex Twin hasn't been fucking around and there are a few bodies in his crawlspace). Sure this album is incredibly depressing, DEVASTATING, and disappointing (I mean this in the sense of tone, not a douchebag's expectation), but the passion produced on this piece of plastic is pretty pure. His heart was ripped out and he went with it all the way. It's incredibly shitty, sludgy and trudge-y. Really, you'll question whether he spilt something on his laptop. It's not the electronics that are broken though, but the producer. The ambient tones have turned dark, cavernous and extremely alienating. While they even go as far as almost sounding off key, it is done so in such a way that really works. We get the feeling as though the textures are being viewed through hindsight: warped and decayed from time (think Boards of Canada almost). It seems like him, but only more "Old and Tired." I don't know if he's much of a drinker, but when I hear tracks like "Woozy," I can easily picture him all by his lonesome polishing off a bottle of Jack D, and smashing said bottle against the wall when the memories start to become too overwhelming and real.

I went on a quest to see what went wrong in Mr.Paradinas' life. What could have happened in between this and Bilious Paths? Apparently, according to my very credible sources of imaginary people I have met on the Internet and know nothing about, he ended up having a very brutal divorce with his wife. Well... it works for me so I'm going with it. I can definitely feel it. Hell, doesn't "Soulmate Devastation" give it away? His titles this time around seem to be very telling. Whether he's walking on "Eggshells" or dealing with his "Dirty Lush Stinkwife," one only needs to look at the track names to put together the story of My Marriage Fell Down the Shithole, by Mike Paradinas. It must have gotten really ugly during one dinner, because "Acid Steak Night''sounds as though his wife cheated on him with acid master Luke Vibert. I can't believe that dirty lush stinkwife... how dare she! On and on it goes and it doesn't really relent at all, which might be the only drawback. There is however possibly one exception with "Rise of the Salmon," which seems to be his attempt in swimming upstream, battling against the current of "Devastation."

"Drum Light" is the final, and to me, the most important track on the album. It seems as though he's really trying to show his emotional pain... via the physical pain of destroying your eardrums. Seriously, I actually got mad at the bloke, so consider yourself warned and brace yourself (Jason) when you give this a whirl. When you hear it though, you'll know: he didn't think things could get any worse...and then they did... and it kicked the shit out of him. To sum up this 5am, sleep deprived, hodgepodge of a rant, I conclude with this final statement: this might be too dark and heavy for some, but if you can deal with it, then put the album on, get depressed, lie on the floor, and polish off some brewskis. Just be sure to keep up with your Prozac afterwards.

-Jon Ryan