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Price: €32.99
Format: LP
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Tom Jenkinson, better known by his alias Squarepusher, has been stretching the boundaries of electronic music for pretty much three decades across a series of innovative and experimental releases with Feed Me Weird Things (1996), Hard Normal Daddy (1997), Music Is Rotted One Note (1998) and Go Plastic (2001) being particular highlights.

Alongside Warp Records label mates Aphex Twin and Autechre, Squarepusher would become one of the most recognised names in forward thinking electronic music in the mid to late 90s, and like his contemporaries, Squarepusher's sound futuristically forged onwards with its own unique preoccupations. Across a Squarepusher album it is not unusual to alternately be bombarded by frantic breakbeat and drum and bass rhythms, virtuosic jazz-inspired bass soloing, patient and darkly atmospheric ambient passages and full blown acid techno strobing. Frequently two or three of these elements, in the most fantastic and mesmeric of fashion, happen all at once.

While Squarepusher's prominent use of live bass does much to separate him from his knob-twiddling peers, on record and on new album Dostrotime, it is indeed Aphex Twin that Squarepusher is most akin too. Like Aphex, Squarepusher displays both a playful disregard for the listener with challenging, high-speed rhythmic patterns riding atop murky, swirling and spiralling dystopian melodies that at times threaten to devour a track entirely. All the while, the music maintains a devotion to the dancefloor, with a number of outstanding new tracks here proving that by the bucket load.

Wendorlan and Duneray are absolute bangers of pure acid techno and pounding drill and bass. The fabulous Enbounce, is equally enjoyable, and also includes an intriguing delve into epic prog territory with an extended solo workout that throttles it towards its excited conclusion. You can't help but hear this track and know for sure that Jenkinson's tongue is firmly in his cheek with such an exuberant display of proggy proficiency coming to the fore in bright, kaleidoscopic colours as it does here. It's great to hear a producer of music, often deemed to be elusive, elitist or boffin-like, having so much unadulterated fun. Holorform displays similar welcome frivolity as it too is a highly enjoyable, yet sonically mental melee of chopped and screwed electronic effects, and a slightly perverse, though not unusual, interlacing of soft jazz fusion.

Kronmec provides an almost ambient counter to the high energy fun of many tracks and its inclusion is welcome as a small, deep listen in which to take a breath between onslaughts. It's one of Dostrotime's most pretty moments. Likewise, the startling acoustic-led exercises of Arketon 1, 2 and 3 provide a side to Squarepusher rarely heard, they are both fleeting yet fully involved, carefully rendered, and beautiful compositions for solo guitar replete with a great sense of weight, depth, colour and thoughtfulness. They perhaps sum up the album's title best (Dostrotime was a moniker given by Jenkinson to the time spent under lockdown restrictions in which much of the album was made). In the Arketon tracks there is indeed a great sense of time passing at a vividly slow pace.

The album's penultimate track, Heliobat is a sparse and haunting track of keys, strings and distant percussive touches. It's ponderous and melancholic, and entirely unhurried as it peaks and troughs in a natural, organic way not unlike the work of post-rock group Labradford before evaporating into the ether.

Squarepusher - Dostrotime is out now on Vinyl 2LP and CD.

  • Electronic

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