Album Review: Squarepusher - Ufabulum

20 May 2012 | 5:33 pm | Chris Yates

When you put this up against some of today’s biggest dubstep/bass artists, it almost sounds quaint.

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Tom Jenkinson, also known as Squarepusher, has revealed that his new album doesn't contain any organic instrumentation whatsoever and is the result of programmed machines and nothing else. While he may have taken a different approach to making the record, the end result certainly isn't light years away from his previous work.

It's actually a really bizarre thing listening to someone who was once considered such an experimental electronic artist in today's musical landscape. Sure it's still weird and glitchy and there are elements that take you by surprise, but when you put it up against even some of today's biggest dubstep/bass artists, it almost sounds quaint. The synth pads that flesh out the disjointed breaks that comprise the first track, 4001, don't do anything to diminish the feeling that it really has been done before. Unreal Square, which follows, sounds like a dubstep remix of the Inspector Gadget theme, but probably isn't actually as good as the dubstep Inspector Gadget remix you can hear on YouTube made by some idiot with too much time on their hands. Stadium Ice is a bit like a farcical soft rock stadium power ballad performed by malfunctioning robots from the '80s, only less fun.

As the middle of the record comes and goes with Red In Blue sounding like the score to a particularly boring scene from a John Carpenter film, the elements used to make the sounds become tired, and it's hard not to feel the same way. Towards the end, 303 Scopem Hard and the closer, Ecstatic Shock, give the record a bit more weight, but it still feels nostalgic more than anything else.