wed 24/07/2024

CD: Squarepusher - Ufabulum | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Squarepusher - Ufabulum

CD: Squarepusher - Ufabulum

A pleasing new set of edgy electronic antics from one of Warp's finest

Squarepusher, sonically his own man, pays visual tribute to Cursor Miner

In an on-point attempt to shake things up a bit, Artsdesk writer Joe Muggs suggested the new Squarepusher album should be reviewed by someone other than an old raver. There were, unfortunately, no takers so you’re stuck with me… an old raver. Then again, look on the bright side, look at this way - I’m fully qualified!

Thus, although I cannot tell whether you’ll enjoy this if you wasted the last decade dredging slowly from The Strokes to Adele, if you revel in the sound of electronic trickery twisting your synapses inside out – wahay! – you’re home dry.

Enough with the self-indugent intro, though, for Ufabulum is the fifteenth album from hardy Warp Records perennial Tom Jenkinson. Given Aphex Twin’s continued AWOL status, Squarepusher’s forays into anything he fancies - a limited edition album of bass guitar solos (2009’s Solo Electric Bass 1); a jazz concept album about coathangers (2008’s Just A Souvenir) - remain a vital treat for fans of music that strays far from the norm. Ufabulum does. It’s recorded soley on electronic kit and is the better for it. Funk is fine but Jenkinson’s juicier doing this stuff, sounds that are part sci-fi dancefloor, part wilfully freakish and part robot insect.

He flirts with euphoric, almost trancey melodies (“Ecstatic Shock”, "Dark Steering", “4001”) but spikes them deliciously with caustic acid and/or crazed percussion, skittering beats that are to drum & bass what Brundlefly is to Seth Brundle. Sometimes doomy BBC Radiophonic squalls are the name of the game (“The Metallurgist”), sometimes it’s a riot of Atari bleeps (“Unreal Square”) and sometimes it just sounds like a dodgy old TV theme put through a cybernetic mincing machine (“Stadium Ice”). Never, however, is it dull. It’s certainly not going to be the album that “breaks him” but, thank God for that - all those come lately dubstep sorts scrabbling in vain to be chart pop whilst underground, it’s a crying shame. No, Squarepusher doesn’t seem to give a damn, but he does want to smoosh eardrums with whacky stuff. More power to him.

Watch the video for "Dark Steering"

If you revel in the sound of electronic trickery twisting your synapses inside out – wahay! – you’re home dry


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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