Kid Spatula Meast

[Planet Mu; 2004]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: classic IDM, electronica, drill-n’-bass, downtempo
Others: Aphex Twin, µ-ziq, Jega, Squarepusher

The prolific, and apparently tireless, Mike Paradinas (of μ-ziq fame and head of Planet Mu Records) releases yet another album ”” this time under his long-standing pseudonym Kid Spatula. Meast, the new album, is an IDM compilation of truly Herculean proportions. Comprising two discs with 17 tracks each and boasting a running time of 70 minutes per disc, this album is a serious chunk of music to digest in one listen. While this may not be, based on the appearance of the packaging, the drill-n'-bass equivalent of The White Album, there's enough quality electronic music on the record to satisfy even the most jaded listeners of "classic" IDM.

The pieces featured on Meast are basically album outtakes and other tracks that Paradinas worked on between 1994 and 1998, in the interim between 1993's Tango N'Vectif and 1999's Royal Astronomy. It is a testament to Paradinas' skill as a composer that these are cuts which didn't make it onto studio albums. These tracks are far from throwaways; many of the pieces on Meast hold their own against some of the best work from μ-ziq or even Aphex Twin. It is also clear upon listening to these cuts, however, that they do indeed come from the "golden age" of drill-n'-bass. This record sounds like it could be a compilation culled from any number of albums from the Warp/Rephlex Records catalogue.

Paradinas appears to be having more fun and loosening up a bit more with his Kid Spatula work than his output as μ-ziq. His playful side seems to be showing as well. Each of Meast's tracks is melodic, upbeat, and quirky. While the album's second disc is a little more "out there" than the first, both discs are dense with variety, originality, and an uncanny amount of melody. The album also has more of a jazzy touch and less pure drill-n'-bass than Paradinas' work as μ-ziq. If there's one fault with the album, it's the fact that many of Meast's tracks simply sound like sketches that Paradinas never really fleshed out ”” and the album, unfortunately, is punctuated throughout with these tracks. One can't complain, however. At the very least, this could have been maybe a slightly shorter double album. A highly recommended album, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Disc One:
1. Housewife
2. Shistners Bassflex
3. Spacious Hallway
4. Further 2
5. Tugboat
6. P.V.
7. Local Jogger
8. Harpsichord
9. Trike
10. Residue
11. Carrier
12. Disclosed
13. Jackal
14. It Starts With Bongos
15. Squirms
16. Bobby
17. Grandwash
Disc Two:

1. Sad & Solid
2. Off Lemon
3. Orange Crumble
4. Detlev Bronk
5. Upton
6. Weiro
7. Peg
8. Lesque
9. Mocaseg
10. Go Ya Lo
11. Measty
12. Member
13. Mighty Softstep
14. My Piano & Me
15. Round &
16. Buttress
17. Broccoli