Lunatic Harness

Lunatic Harness

Awash in analog sonics, chiming melodies, and skittering drums, Lunatic Harness is the prettiest album to come out of the mid-'90s “drill ’n’ bass” movement. Though he embraced the same fundamental musical ideals as his peers Squarepusher and Aphex Twin, Mu-Ziq (a.k.a. Mike Paradinas) backed away from the assaultive nature of those artists’ songs and replaced it with atmospheres of ethereal color and shimmering melody. These qualities bring Lunatic Harness closer to pop music than anything Paradinas had previously attempted, although the songs here are denser and dreamier than what one could expect to hear on the radio. Even the songs with bombastic percussive schemes—“My Little Beautiful,” “Catkin and Teasal,” “Midwinter Log”—are overlaid with such poignant chordal sequences that they never become threatening; they stay sweetly hypnotic. The title song is arguably the personal peak of Paradinas’ career. He layers and connects several polyrhythmic patterns, letting them drift apart and then reconstituting them for a brilliant climax.

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