Squarepusher is an unexplainable phenomenon. Such is the diversity of Tom Jenkinson’s huge previous output that even the well initiated are often left scratching their heads, wondering “what, where, why, HOW?!?” ‘Do You Know Squarepusher’ is, reassuringly, no different.
Opening up with the most confounding but blissfully fun mash up since Jenkinson slammed a knowing fist up the arse of UK Garage with ‘My Red Hot Car’, the title track observantly notes in fractured tones “Squarepusher’s the fucking daddy, makes all the different styles of drum ‘n’ bass.” Then toddles off to the land of headfuckery with a wicked grin and an insistent click-heavy hook-line.
‘Anstromm-Feck 4’ – nope, not a clue either – is introduced with all the subtlety of shooting yourself in the leg with your own gun: “Think you’re fuckin’ hard do ya? Squarepusher’s gonna come and take ya fuckin’ face off.” Remember back in the '80s when it was cool to play ‘Space Invaders’? Well try to imagine the music when one alien’s left and hammering across the screen. Then speed it up to 700bpm and hand the soundtrack over to Satan - basically you’ll get ‘Anstromm-Feck 4’.
‘Mutilation Colony’ is the result of leaving CDs crammed with three-second audio samples in a musty cupboard together, producing offspring that could make a quiet night in with Frankenstein’s Monster look appealing. The first nine and a half minutes do anyway, until some genetic mistake ignites a frantic, beats-from-all-angles conclusion.
‘F-Train’ seems to have taken a leaf out of The Streets’ well-thumbed cheeky coc-ker-ney thesaurus, but then Mike Skinner is yet to back his piss funny trains of thought with the sound of a church bell tolling behind a plague of grasshoppers. Possibly for obvious reasons.
And it all ends, in fittingly bewildering scenes, with a cover of Joy Division’s classic signature tune ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Which sounds nothing like the rest of the album, or indeed anything you’ve come to expect from Squarepusher. Not that this is an unusual event – he’s constantly been reinventing himself over the course of countless albums – although it’s more unexpected that Jenkinson chooses to stick respectfully (pointlessly?) close to the original.
There’s no time to debate whether this is all genius or the sound of a man let loose on his own with limited quality control, for the accompanying live CD ‘Alive In Japan’ arrives for an hour-plus blast through underwear-soiling mentalist noise.
You get the fab ‘My Red Hot Car’, complete with the line of the century “I’m gonna fuck you with my red hot cock!”, ‘Do You Know Squarepusher’ followed by bear-lunged hollers to "make some fucking noise!" and a frightening ‘Anstromm-Feck 4’. This is the sound of an exuberant Jenkinson in his most tangible medium and is, as such, a better LP than the one it companions.
The end of humanity set to a d‘n’b beat? From Squarepusher, you’d expect nothing less.
9Adam Anonymous's Score