That Squarepusher, he's crazy. Mates with Aphex Twin, big bushy beard, splenetic bass guitar workouts - he's got a screw loose, right?...

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Bristol Colston Hall

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Bristol Colston Hall

THAT SQUAREPUSHER, HE’S crazy. Mates with Aphex Twin, big bushy beard, splenetic bass guitar workouts – he’s got a screw loose, right? [I]Right[/I]?

Poor Tom Jenkinson – for it is he – always the clown, never the contemplative musical genius. But why not? The inklings have been there since day one, and last year’s three (that’s [I]three[/I]) albums suggested that he’d taken his unique and complex sound – blitzkrieg drum’n’bass, awkward speed-bass manoeuvres, general synthesised weirdness – pretty much as far as it could go without being unlistenable self-parody. Time to move on then, and hey, has Tom moved on.

From the seemingly haphazard song titles (‘Chunk-S’, ‘Last Ap Roach’) and impenetrable grey graphics to its raw, considered content, ‘Music Is Rotted One Note’ says, quite simply, ‘artist’. And then, softly, ‘jazz’. In short, this is when the transition from restless dance maverick to restless, Radio 3-endorsed proper musician occurs.

It’s a natural, organically overgrown tangle of rubbery bass arpeggios, fondly molested keyboards and outrageous snare drum capers. None of the record is sequenced; but then this isn’t a normal record. It’s the sound of one man Working It All Out in the studio, challenging any preconceptions that he – not to mention the electronica-loving massive – might have held about himself. Above all, there is a preoccupation with the structure of the music; despite, or perhaps because of, the lack of bleeps, squiggles and break loops, songs like ‘Circular Flexing’ and ‘Theme From Vertical Hold’ enjoy a progressive, free-form approach.

He’s, erm, pushing himself, actually thinking about his methods, and this results in his best song ever, ‘My Sound’, a beautiful blend of gentle guitar pickings, cymbal swishes and, of course, interwoven basslines.

That Squarepusher, then. He is crazy. But now, it’s all under control.