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Ufabulum

Squarepusher

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Album Review

Verified electronic music legend Tom Jenkinson has been a pivotal force in his field as Squarepusher since the mid-'90s. Taking constant risks and shifting styles dramatically without batting an eyelash has panned out for him more often than not and has resulted in some of the most definitive moments in the evolution of IDM and electronic music as a whole. It hasn't all been unquestionable genius, though. Ufabulum follows a string of disappointing missteps in the Squarepusher story, namely 2008's fusion-funk meltdown Just a Souvenir; 2009's Solo Electric Bass 1, a collection of unaccompanied bass noodling/soloing; and 2010's half-baked experiment Shobaleader One: d’Demonstrator. Even the best moments of early albums were shelved between multiple phoned-in tracks or clearly less-inspired variations on the same theme. Ufabulum rises out of the muddle of curious decisions on the several albums before it, offering a true-to-form Squarepusher experience more diverse and ornate than almost any before it. Lead track "4001" sets the bar high (as do the first tracks on most Squarepusher albums) with a typically hard beat and bass-stab pattern that abruptly explodes into an army of synths scoring waves of cinematic countermelodies. A post-apocalyptic soundtrack feel runs through much of the album, as tense synth lines are interrupted by glitchy reverb twitches and the occasional dubsteppy bass wobble. "Red in Blue" represents a slight respite, borrowing from the ambient side of David Bowie's Low with its icy, understated electronic paddings. "303 Scopem Hard" incorporates caustic noise and grating bowed metal scraping sounds into its typically breakneck tempo and gurgling acid bassline. The most striking aspect of Ufabulum is the sense that Jenkinson is building on top of foundations he laid himself. Where early Squarepusher records were notable for their innovative work with beat programming or infusion of organic instruments with electronic mayhem, the songs here seem to begin with that template of jittery beats and grow into dense compositions. Glowing mini-symphonies like "Unreal Square" take Jenkinson's signature playfulness and disregard for any musical rules and expand them into complexly layered opuses, mind-numbingly intricate without becoming impenetrable or losing any of their joy. If Ufabulum indicates anything, it's that there might be a deeper sophistication to come from this already groundbreaking superhero of electronic music.

Customer Reviews

Fantastic.

I saw him in New York at Webster Hall, when he played through this album. I loved it then, and I love it now. Don't expect anything that sounds like typical sounds in the electronic genre right now, this is different and refreshing. I think of it as "glitchstep", because it's not really like anything else that I've heard in a long, long time.

SEGA!

This is actually the new soundtrack to Sonic the Hedgehog 2012.

YES!!!

A return to form but without the use of Amen Break. This album is a pleasant surprise if you've been let down since Ultravisitor. Thank you Squarepusher :)

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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