SQUAREPUSHER — Numbers Lucent (review)

SQUAREPUSHER — Numbers Lucent album cover EP · 2009 · Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
js
For those unawares, Squarepusher is the name of the ongoing one-man musical project performed by jazz fusion multi-instrumentalist and electronic composer/producer Tom Jenkinson. Tom has formidable skills on both bass and drums which he records and then slices and dices via computer while adding analog-style synthesizer parts. The end result is some of the freshest and most original drumnbass/jungle music I've heard since those styles first emerged in the early 90s. There isn't anything particularly striking to catch the casual listener on here, probably a lot of people would consider this to be another typical drumnbass affair, but to a long-time fan of this genre this is the first really interesting DnB record I've heard in almost a decade. Although Jenkinson is often known for his radical drill-n-bass approach with surreal tempos and machine gun drum rolls, on the first four songs of this EP he keeps things fairly natural with mostly real drums played back at their original recorded speed. I think that is the main appeal of this album, this is some of the most human and natural sounding DnB I have ever encountered, the overall sound is like a very futuristic synth led progressive pop-jazz combo. On the last two cuts he breaks out the hyper tempos and insanely creative sampling that are often his trademark.

For some reason some of the songs on here remind me of the old synthesizer exotica rock- jazz classic Tank, by ELP. The overall pleasantly kitsch effect is similar, ..'Welcome to the Future'. Although I had expected this EP to be modern jazz fusion with DnB beats, Tom instead shoots for a pure drumnbass/jungle ascetic, but does so with far more musicality than most.
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