Squarepusher – Just a Souvenir – Warp Records

Rudi Zygadlo

Squarepusher’s music is often tagged with genres like drill ‘n’ bass – Warp Records’ own online store categorizes him as breakcore.

However, it is apparent from his latest installment, ‘Just a souvenir’ that the amen break is irrevocably dead and along with it many of the electronic innovations that Tom Jenkinson has brought to our attention since ‘Feed me Weird Things’ in 1996. So breakcore fans and those expecting ‘Red Hot Cars’ may be dissapointed. And though I too am nostalgic for those days, I have to say I like the new Squarepusher. He uses a vocoder now.

‘A Real Woman’ is Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ interspersed with pernickety jazz-fusion passages, perhaps to avoid accusations of plagiarism. ‘Delta V’ is a barrage of bass, assaulting us with a riff doused in so much distortion you have trouble identifying the notes. ‘The Coathanger’ may raise questions concerning his lyrical abilities (‘Here comes the coat hanger, observe the coat hanger’) but reminds us that he still plays bass like Jaco Pastorious, and sticking it through a noise gate produces some very funky staccato results.

The highlight for me is perhaps the most modest piece on the album, ‘Potential Govaner’, which features a gentle crescendo of delicate acoustic guitar melodies and fragmented drums, reminiscent of ‘Theme from Sprite’ from ‘Hello Everything’, culminating in a satisfying slap solo.

The title of the album refers to Tom’s urgent sense of responsibility to sonically document an intense daydream of emerald green coat hangers, a Homo Erectus playing Monopoly and a ‘crazy, beautiful band, playing an ultra-gig’ to name but a few episodes. (To see the album manifesto, visit squarepusher.net) The album certainly sounds somewhat more colourful than its predecessors. Only Tom knows if he did the dream justice.


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