Aphex Twin and μ-Ziq’s Mike & Rich Album Comes Out of Hiding


The seminal Aphex Twin (Richard D. James) and μ-Ziq (Mike Paradinas) group, Mike & Rich, are digging their album, Expert Knob Twiddlers, from the grave of out-of-print purgatory.

μ-Ziq and Aphex Twin are two of the most revered names in IDM electronica. Their careers, now spanning multiple decades, have influenced thousands of musicians now. But the Mike & Rich collaboration stands out, not only for it’s great tunes, but for the fact that it’s been lost to history. Until now, when, on September 2nd, the album will be re-released in all formats.

A collaboration between AFX (Richard D. James) and µ–Ziq (Mike Paradinas), Mike & Rich – ’Expert Knob Twiddlers’ was made back in 1994. Richard edited the tracks into shape later in 1996 with his new Apple Mac computer and it was released later that year on Rephlex, the label he co-owned and which released the first two albums by µ-Ziq.

This new reissued version has been carefully cleaned up, re-edited and remastered from the original DAT tapes, put into a more fitting order and, more excitingly, seven new bonus tracks and alternative versions have also been added.

The album was recorded over a few days during the 1994 World Cup, back when Richard lived in a big shared flat in Stoke Newington. Richard had tried to collaborate with a few other likeminded artists but something clicked when Mike and Rich worked together and the sessions have a unique feel; playful and at times actually drunk. These are fun experiments in the spirit of lighthearted moog pop and ripe 70s British TV themes, standing out from the po-faced electronica of the time with a garish glee.

The record was made on what is now seen as pretty primitive gear – an Atari, Roland MKS-80, Memorymoog, Roland R8 and a handful of samples on a Casio FZ-10M – but it’s to their credit that it resonates well with the hardware workouts coming out today. There’s a broadminded but sloppy funk to the record, even whistling, singing and harpsichord in ‘Reg’ and wonky beat pile-ons in ‘Jelly Fish’. There’s latin piano and wheezy drunken techno in ‘Vodka’, or the sleepy spaced out ambience of ‘Bu Bu Bu Ba’ with its barely contained laughter which seems to reflect the absurdity.

Unfortunately, the colored vinyl and cassette offerings are already sold out, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from checking out some great music.

For More Information: Planet Mu Records

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