Squarepusher : Go Plastic

Audacious sounds from hardcore guv'nor

The avant-garde: so pretentious, only French words will do. And that’s what’s wrong with experimental music today. Pompous fucks like Sonic Youth claim the cutting edge is all about cultivating a bored expression while destroying incredibly expensive instruments. ‘Amnesiac’ is, yes, very clever but lacks a shred of thrill. And elsewhere, The Cult Of The Trainspotter rules supreme, reducing brave new dancefloor dawns to anal textbook footnotes. No wonder everyone’s buying ‘The Invisible Band’.

But forget that. Here’s the most exciting album of the year so far. It features song titles like ‘Go! Spastic’ and ‘My Fucking Sound’. It has the author offering you his [I]”red hot cock”[/I]. It’s the ninth album from Warp Records’ very own Dr Frankenstein, the genre-splicing Squarepusher – and it’s a record that’s out to reconcile the experimental with the plain fucking mental.

It would be disingenuous to claim this is ‘Pusher man Tom Jenkinson’s first classic work (of his eight past albums of lunatic jungle and organic jazz, roughly half are utterly essential). But ‘Go Plastic’ is such a complex record, it pretty much supersedes anything that’s come before.

Placing sequenced beats and the scream of tortured circuitry next to the sampled thrum of bass guitar and live percussion, this is the very essence of

nu-fusion – a firework battle of musical genres that explodes everything from UK garage to ambient to acid house to musique concrete in a grand, psychotic free-for-all.

The opening ‘My Red Hot Car’ immediately grabs the zeitgeist and wrings its neck: beginning as a loose homage to the UK garage crew, it features Jenkinson sweetly crooning [I]”I’m gonna fuck you with my red hot cock”[/I], through a vocoder. Before long, though, he’s solidifying honeyed melodies into concrete blocks of squealing dissonance and firing them back in rhythmic blunderbuss

barrages. Then, everything gets really weird. ‘Boneville Occident’ knocks back pure jazz as a head-spinning intoxicant, rather than a lounge-style dilution, spewing it out in explosive fragments of insanely fast drum’n’bass and scattershot passages of squeaky warped bass. ‘Go! Spastic’ is where old pirate radio stations go to die, a mash-up of multi-layered ragga MCing and alien acid house bass that relies more on abstract aural scrawls than time signatures. And while the funereal synth of

‘I Wish You Could Talk’ ushers a certain serenity into the equation, it’s with the suggestion that musical bedlam is just around the corner. Cue ‘Greenways Trajectory’. Cue earplugs. Cue falling masonry.

Scream it in the face of

the avant-garde: ‘Go Plastic’ doesn’t just prick pomposity, it steamrollers it. Meanwhile, you won’t hear another album like this all lifetime. Come to fucking daddy, indeed.

Louis Pattison