-ZIQ Tango N’ Vectif (Rephlex)

-Ziq is the brainspawn of Mike Paradinas (albeit augmented here on the project’s 1993 debut by Francis Naughton). Given that it’s released on Richard D James’ label, James and Paradinas collaborated under their first names on the “Expert Knob Twiddlers” album and RDJ provides the cover image, whose music do you think “Tango N’ Vectif” might be reminiscent of? It’s almost too easy, isn’t it?

Admittedly, there’s certainly an initial rush of excitement on discovering such an abundance of echt-AFX material, but it’s soon diminished by the realisation that -Ziq’s music resolutely fails to lodge in the cranium. I’ve played some of these 15 tracks over 20 times, but I still couldn’t hum a few bars of “Swan Vesta” or “Phi* 1700 (u/v)” if my life depended on it. Unfortunately, much of “Tango N’ Vectif” is as deliberately stylised as its retroid, Tristan Fabriani-style booklet notes.

It’s not without humour - “Burn Sienna” sneaks a fragment of the “Postman Pat” theme into its chiming, intertwining loops – but the likes of “Iesope” meander aimlessly, and “Auqeam”’s clanking, distorted machine shop beats might’ve sounded brutal 15 years ago but can’t help seem a bit old-fangled nowadays. Likewise, “The Sonic Fox” is car alarm techno without the panache RDJ brings to the genre, and “Amenida”’s kung fu beats sound like an elderly computer game soundtrack.

Despite the imitation Aphexy fingerprints all over it, “Tango N’ Vectif” sounds almost like a test card -Zak perversion of Mr James’ many talents.