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Damogen Furies

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Album Review

Squarepusher is one of electronic music's most widely recognized innovators, with a profile as celebrated as Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada, or any of his other legendary big-name peers. Though Tom Jenkinson (the mind behind Squarepusher's oeuvre) seemed to arrive with a fully formed signature sound with the icy jungle-informed compositions of his 1996 debut Feed Me Weird Things, he applied his masterful sonic personality to a wide variety of applications as his career moved forward, branching in directions as widely variant as mellow acid jazz, solo funk bass recordings, ambient dub, and even humanly impossible compositional scores played by robots. Damogen Furies finds Jenkinson turning away from his more nuanced or minimally funky material and offering up an album of completely blown-out tones. Nearly everything on the album's eight songs sounds coated in distortion and chaos, though still distinctively Squarepusher at the core. Garbled beats and fuzzy synth tones take the form of highly compositional MIDI-prog on the dizzying "Kontenjaz" and a melodramatic electro-throwback horror movie score on "Baltang Arg." The closest the album comes to pop is a winking mangling of synth pop with opening track "Stor Eiglass," an Aphex Twin-esque slab of IDM that melts into an upbeat melody that sounds borrowed from the Cure and strapped into a getaway car fleeing a bank robbery at 120 mph. This re-appropriation may be a songwriting accident or a knowing move on Jenkinson's part, especially as the song's rhythm deteriorates into madness before coming back together. The album is full of moments that seem designed to confuse, as Jenkinson's flair for healthy doses of nonsense is matched only by his passion for hyperactive musical feats of brilliance. With Damogen Furies, the results of his strange ways lead to moments of slack-jawed befuddlement as much as awestruck astonishment.

Biography

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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