Artist Profile
Squarepusher
England

starting with a gloriously destructive take on the drum ‘n bass genre in his debut work, Feed Me Weird Things, Tom Jenkinson has erected an entire sub-genre on his shoulders. Drill ‘n bass was such a popular sub-genre, in fact, that it made both the pages of Spin and Rolling Stone, at one point. As with any sub-genre, however, the music soon reached its logical end. With drill ‘n bass, an amen break could only be so corrupted and so digitally altered before it stopped making any sense. Jenkinson, when confronted with this reality, turned to his other main love, jazz. An accomplished bassist, Jenkinson turned to the free jazz of later Miles Davis for the next step in his evolution. Out of this era came Music Is Rotted One Note and Budakhan Mindphone, an interesting- if regressive, take on other well-worn areas of music making. The results were frequently good, if the influences not perfectly/painfully obvious. From there, Jenkinson has tread slightly back into drill ‘n bass territory with his most recent releases, Go Plastic and Do You Know Squarepusher? while maintaining a few tracks on each record devoted to experiments in sound.

The resurgence of interest in the IDM community in Jenkinson’s career came rapidly after the relative success of the single, “My Red Hot Car”. It was a nearly perfect marriage of two step garage and a drill ‘n bass sensibility. This would, in theory, have led to a new and interesting pop direction to Jenkinson’s music. Unfortunately the only sign of life we have in terms of Jenkinson gaining more pop acceptance is in his cover of Joy Divison’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” at the end of his most recent album. It would seem that the schizophrenic drum loops that permeated his earlier work have seeped into the recorded output of the artist. With so many options before him, and so many talents to exploit, it’ll be interesting to see where Jenkinson takes us next. But I’m sure that listeners will be the better for it.

Quick Facts:

Current members: Tom Jenkinson

Location: England

Style: IDM

Labels Appeared On: Warp, Nothing

Starting Point: Feed Me Weird Things (1996)

Essential: Hard Normal Daddy (1997)


By: Todd Burns
Published on: 2003-09-01
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