Date of release:Buy Physical
For those not familiar with the work of Tom ‘Squarepusher’ Jenkinson, Ufabulum is packed with minutely programmed, double/triple/quadruple-time drums and radical yet catchy melodies. For those who already demand those things from Jenkinson: expect all this and more.
Setting aside his jazzy noodling and the understated post-rock explorations of albums such as Music Is One Rotted Note, Jenkinson recently revealed his renewed fascination with pure electronics. Ufabulum is incontrovertible evidence of this, with sweeping, panoramic synth lines that optimistically stride forward (with a retrospective eye to the ‘80s). The video for first single Dark Steering features Jenkinson wearing a distinctly Daft Punk-esque racing helmet, appropriate as shades of Vangelis and the French masters’ Tron soundtrack are present.
Opening track 4001 is amongst the most jaw-dropping pieces of Jenkinson’s career; it’s a visionary ride surging with stadium-size keyboards. The rest of the first half resides on warm jets of metallic sub-bass and sweeping keys which mostly sound impressive, but occasionally, such as on Unreal Square, overly grand. But the second half is where things get really interesting, as Squarepusher literally goes into overdrive. Dark Steering injects skidding tyre shrieks into a towering intensity builder, while at the unrelenting end of the spectrum The Metallurgist is a head mash of mutated electronics and 303 Scopem Hard returns Jenkinson to his acid roots, with a rippling 303 assault that must rank amongst the most complex ever committed to tape.
Not many artists can claim their 13th album to be their best, but Ufabulum might have just crept over Jenkinson’s already Olympic-high bar.
Christopher H James
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