Squarepusher Ultravisitor

Squarepusher Ultravisitor
During the mid-’90s, drum & bass crawled up its own arse. There, deep inside the large intestine, "drill & bass” artists like Tom "Squarepusher” Jenkinson, Aphex Twin and Clifford Gilberto set about transforming body-moving jungle into schizoid head-trips. But the shock of experimentation has long worn off and sensing this, Jenkinson has stepped up with Ultravisitor, an album of surprising heart and laid-back calm, albeit still boasting bursts of mayhem. Right from the subdued tension of the titular opening cut, multi-instrumentalist Jenkinson makes it clear that he is not going to be hitting the listener over the head. Throughout the album the beats still largely scamper about like ADD kids on crack, but the synths add more melody to the low-end and he perfectly melds his own live playing with his programmed processes. In fact, despite the album’s extensive technological prowess, there is more of a live vibe at play than anything else. On "Iambic 9 Poetry” he crafts moody jazztronica while the acoustic "Andrei” opens with a classical guitar lick and "Tommib Help Buss,” reprised from the Lost In Translation soundtrack, is all ambient hotel-lounge loneliness. The middle of the 80-minute album, beginning with "Steinbolt,” does abandon the emotive jazz feel to get feedback freaky, complete with electro-industrial overtones, frenzied drum loops and distortion assaults. But Ultravisitor’s hardcore spasms put the calmer moments in context and prove that after all these years Squarepusher can still somehow fit himself into a round hole. (Warp)