Published Mar 08, 2017Introduced in 2010, Tom Jenkinson's four-piece Shobaleader One project set itself apart from his usual work as Squarepusher by offering up an earnest stab at pop music. Full of fuzzed-out, mid-tempo funk, processed R&B crooning and some genuine hooks, it was the kind of music robots might put on when they're feeling sexy. It received a middling response.
2017's Elektrac plays things a bit safer, instead giving us a live set of actual Squarepusher tunes — essentially the greatest Squarepusher live album in everything but name — and it's a real treat.
The focus is on Jenkinson's earlier career, circa Hard Normal Daddy and Feed Me Weird Things. Long-time fans will be very pleased with some of the deep cuts here, although it would have been nice to hear more from Hello Everything and Just a Souvenir. The renditions of what is on hand are faithful, though, and key moments — the ecstatic breaks in Hard Normal Daddy's "E8 Boogie" for instance — sound great. There's plenty of room for Jenkinson's bass to wander freely, as well. His casually beautiful soloing in "Iambic 5 Poetry," for example, is a confident reminder of his place amongst the best contemporary bassists.
If you've ever wondered what a consummate Squarepusher cover band would sound like — with Jenkinson at its head, no less — you may look no further than Elektrac; it's an expertly recorded, dynamically performed and totally fun celebration of some of his best work, especially for those who cherish his earlier material. (Warp)