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Do You Know Squarepusher

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Album Review

From the total effect, Do You Know Squarepusher (a brief LP or a good-sized mini-LP) doesn't just pose the question in the title, but practically demands compliance with the fact that Tom Jenkinson can't be pigeonholed. After moving from jazz fusion homage to 2-step satirist during previous years, Squarepusher turns in a record of radically different sounds, all of them well-intentioned but also difficult to focus into just a single statement (or two, or three). The title track is the best one here (in his usual vein), as close to a game of the dozens as a drill'n'bass producer is going to get; Jenkinson cues a monotoned vocal to repeat the title before moving into Aphex Twin territory with digital-piano melodies accompanying a series of brilliantly timed breakbeat trainwrecks. "F-Train" cuts up a vocal that sounds like DJ Spooky reading one of his favorite abstract textbooks, while "Mutilation Colony" comprises eight minutes of musique concrète that would sound familiar to any admirer of early tape-music composers Edgard Varèse and Vladimir Ussachevsky. And coming right on its heels is Jenkinson's first cover, a surprisingly straight reading of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (using multiple overdubs of bass/guitar/drums), with a vocal so understated that Ian Curtis sounds like Ian Astbury in comparison. Though the focus on range and experimentation is fascinating for those who've already heard Squarepusher doing the standard drill'n'bass rigamarole, the randomness evident on productions like "Kill Robok" makes the LP about as infectious as a surgical bandage. If Music Is Rotted One Note was his homage to Bitches Brew, this LP is his "Poème Electronique."


Born: 17 January 1975 in Chelmsford, Essex, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Tom "Squarepusher" Jenkinson makes manic, schizoid, experimental drum'n'bass with a heavy progressive jazz influence and a lean toward pushing the clichés of the genre out the proverbial window. Rising from near-total obscurity to drum'n'bass cause célèbre in the space of a couple of months, Jenkinson released only a pair of EPs and a DJ Food remix for the latter's Refried Food series before securing EP and LP release plans with three different labels. His first full-length work, Feed Me Weird Things...
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