Published May 15, 2012If there is a "Squarepusher sound," it would be best described as the battle between digital decay and analog ingenuity. But, since 2004's Ultravisitor (the follow-up to his career-peaking LP, Go Plastic), Tom Jenkinson's (aka Squarepusher) absolute fixation with the bass guitar has all but defined his work. On Ufabulum, the 13th full-length from the Essex, UK marvel, Jenkinson packs up and leaves his comfort zone for a warmer digital embrace. Originally envisioned as a companion piece to his visually stunning, LED-laden live show, Ufabulum shows Squarepusher pushing forward some of his leanest, most unfurled compositions to date. Once exposed to the molasses-thick synth hits of opener "4001" and the harmonious mind-fuck of "Dark Steeling," it's clear that Jenkinson's patented drill'n'bass has been drenched in not only melody but a renewed sense of character and playfulness. But it's tracks like "Unreal Square," featuring alien anti-melodies morphing into a full-on, syncopated onslaught, which show just how much Jenkinson is willing to work within spatial confines without coming off as confined. When it's all said and done, Ufabulum isn't the great emancipating departure people make it out to be, but it does express just how inspired this legend can still sound.
Read an interview with Squarepusher here. (Warp)