ELECTRONICA / Squarepusher

Just a Souvenir – SQUAREPUSHER – 2008

Right, now we have an odd left-of-center musician. Plays bass with electronica drawing from Jungle, Drum n Bass and- hold on to your sphincters- Jazz Fusion! How will this extremely curious mixture sound? I was intrigued, so I heard this, one of his latest albums.

I don’t know how Squarepusher manages it, but the sound of the instruments is suspiciously analogue. I mean, I know its electronica, but the drums sound a bit like Jojo Mayer, with a certain warmth that skins have. The bass is of course, an electric bass, as we all know about Squarepusher. Good shit. Just that the whole sound is like it’s coming from a real instrument and not being generated by ones and noughts gone wild.

Pretty ok album. Enough for me to hear more.

I’m fond of the sudden silences, especially in ‘Coathanger’, especially the seemingly random ones. There is also ‘Potential Govaner’, in which the volume reduces and increases in a crazy barrage of right-left channel playfulness that leaves my head spinning.

What I don’t like is the production. It’s very ‘dry’. There is no sign of echo/reverb/delay anywhere. After a while, it starts to sound like sandpaper. Only ‘Planet Gear’ breaks the monotony with some Beatle-esque keyboards.

Another surprise in this album is the Rock edge evident on several songs, like ‘Delta V’. The song is basically distorted bass all throughout. With liberal smattering of some really hardcore slapping and popping. It gets annoying after some time, though. By the three-quarter mark, I starting finding the distortion to be as palatable as buzzing mosquito. Further, another major problem with this album is the TOTAL lack of bottom end on many songs. The distorted bass- characteristically- robs the bass of crucial bottom end.

One of the biggest surprises on this album is ‘Duotone Moonbeam’, which sounds like a really nerdy sounding electronica/rave track, but is actually a Jazz song!! Quite. The last two-three songs, unlike the rest of the album, are smile inducing tracks, which kinda make you go ‘aww’ at the cuteness of the whole thing. ‘Yes Sequitur’ is especially highly recommended. Beautiful.

Uber-nerd rocks.

Despite the flaws on this, I’m intrigued. It doesn’t work all the time, but the sheer ambition needed to mix funk, rock, jazz fusion, jungle and drum n’ bass (whew) speaks for itself. If this were a spaceship, it would be Apollo 13. I will hear more of this stuff. Look on and wait. This sounds right.

– El Bajista

For more ELECTRONICA, haul arse HERE.


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