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Shobaleader One: d'Demonstrator

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Album Review

A concept album that sticks straitjacket tight to its concept, Shobaleader One: d'Demonstrator is a record of throwback electronic rock, with an R&B edge and synthesized vocals, performed by a hooded band — and if Daft Punk springs to mind, it should. After a record of solo bass (titled Solo Electric Bass, Vol. 1), Squarepusher's Tom Jenkinson soon unveiled his next project: the masked foursome named Shobaleader One. (Jenkinson's claims that the group consists of real people is certainly possible, but the omnipresent masks make one wonder if the producer is playing puppetmaster here.) A combination of stark electro and swinging funk, most tracks featuring vocals, the album will have listeners thinking of Daft Punk one minute and stark '80s television themes the next (read Knight Rider). Jenkinson gets in a little action with his bass (or synth-bass), especially on "Cryptic Motion," the highlight (it was released on Ed Banger a month before it appeared here). He has a way with vocals too, best heard on the robot-lover opener "Plug Me In." Elsewhere, the material is mostly midtempo and methodical, with the masks staying on throughout. It's an excellent way for Jenkinson to branch out and try something different, with both playing and programming definitely up to his high standard.

Customer Reviews

come on you guys.

tom jenkinson has been one of the most dynamic, evolving figures in electronic music for the past 15 or so years. this is a natural progression from the direction he's been heading for the past few releases - in fact the biggest difference is mostly that he's working with a live band now, which influences the sound in a big way. i, for one, admire his courage to make head in the musical direction he wants to, even when it means possibly alienating some of his less open-minded fans. he's doing something truly original here, and he's doing it for the right reasons.

"I've always wanted to sabotage coolness as for me music is about laughing and crying, not about standing around smoking cigarettes." - tom jenkinson, 2010.

i'd probably only rate this album 4 stars, but i'm giving it 5 on principle. gee, sorry he's not making exactly the same music he started out making. to those saying he's selling out: wouldn't it be more of a sellout if he just put out another album exactly like big loada? it would break absolutely no new ground, but it'd certainly sell well...

also, for the record, i'm really not getting the daft punk thing. the music bears virtually no resemblance to french electro/house whatsoever (yeah, they use vocoders... so does everyone... else...) and the LED facemasks are a far cry from the robot bodysuits that daft punk used. i really fail to see how this constitutes "knocking off" daft punk. come on.


What happened to Squarepusher? He used to really let loose without any fear of freaking out. This album, in line with last few, doesn't really have anything original to say. On this release it's as though you told your dad to make something in GarageBand approaching Daft Punk. Technically it falls flat and musically it's damn close to easy listening (and not in any inventive post-genre sense). I've been a fan of TJ's from day one, so it's not easy to say that beyond not buying this album, you shouldn't even listen to it. The man simply isn't much of an electronic performer anymore.

lost his touch.

seriously, why is he trying to be daft punk? everyone seems to think that just because daft punk used samples and this is live makes him immune to any comparison. I mean have you seen some of his new videos! hes got a robotic lightup helmet that just screams daft. this is no improvement over his previous sound and isn't anything new, infact its back a few years. I can almost hear what hes trying to do, bring some warmth to his music,infact when I first heard a song off here I thought "finally tom! you took Electronic music and gave it a new dimension." for once I could see a S.P. album making it big. then I thought "wait, is the whole song like this? is the whole ALBUM like this?". the vocals are almost very enjoyable to listen to and I would actually really like to hear more of this but as it's been said, too fuzzy and uncomprihensible. almost an improvement, but falls quite short of squarepusher quality.


Born: January 17, 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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