Michael Robert Paradinas (born 26 September 1971), who works primarily under the name μ-Ziq (pronounced like the word "music") in addition to a large number of aliases, is an English musician in the field of electronic music.
Paradinas was born in Charing Cross and began playing keyboards during the early 1980s and listened to new wave bands like The Human League and Heaven 17. He joined a few bands in the mid-1980s, then spent eight years on keyboards for the group Blue Innocence.
During this period, Paradinas had been recording on his own as well with synthesizers and a four-track recorder. In 1995, following a performance at "The Orange" in London, Blue Innocence broke up. Paradinas and the bass player, Francis Naughton, bought sequencing software and re-recorded some of Paradinas's older tracks. After the material was played for Mark Pritchard and Tom Middleton — the duo behind Global Communication and the heads of Evolution Records — it was to be released; however, recording commitments later forced Pritchard and Middleton to withdraw their agreement. Fortunately for Paradinas, Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin) had also heard the tracks and agreed to release their music on Rephlex Records under the alias μ-Ziq.
Naughton then left μ-Ziq to start Rocket Goldstar. A second album Bluff Limbo was scheduled to be released in mid-1994, though only 1000 copies were published. It was re-issued by Rephlex in 1996 after Paradinas served papers on the label. Paradinas's first major-label release came later in 1994, after he undertook a remix project for Virgin Records: the remix EP The Auteurs Vs μ-Ziq for the britpop band the Auteurs. The remixes Paradinas offered sounded nothing like the original song, a familiar practice for many experimental electronic musicians in those times.
Even though the EP was hardly a high sales success, Virgin signed up Paradinas and gave him his own sublabel, Planet Mu, to release his own work and to develop similar-minded artists. (Paradinas later broke with Virgin and in 1998 established Planet Mu as his own independent label.) Written into his own contract was a provision for unlimited recording under different names, and during 1995 Paradinas unveiled three aliases and released many albums within less than a year. The neo-electro music label Clear released his debut single under the alias Tusken Raiders (named after the Star Wars species) early in the year. Clear Records also released the first Paradinas alias full-length album, Jake Slazenger MakesARacket, later in 1995. Although they were still audible, the LP ignored the electro influences in favour of some synthesizer figures and the previously unheard influence of jazz-funk. Paradinas continued to release solo albums under the above-mentioned names as well as Gary Moscheles, and a one-time collaboration with Aphex Twin under the Mike & Rich moniker.
In 1997 Paradinas made a style change again, mixing experimental electronic music with drum'n'bass, a similar aesthetic path taken by Squarepusher and Aphex Twin. During this year he was also touring with popular musician Björk. Björk inspired the 1999 album Royal Astronomy, with its mixture of unusual vocals, strings and breakbeat. All of his albums until 2003 were released in the USA on the more mainstream label, Astralwerks.
Paradinas is the owner of the Planet Mu label, which hosts cult favourite electronic musicians such as Venetian Snares, Capitol K, Datach'i and Luke Vibert.