Album: Squarepusher

Ultravisitor, Warp
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The Independent Culture

Tom "Squarepusher" Jenkinson has accrued an impressive coterie of celebrity fans, from Thom Yorke and Sofia Coppola to The Neptunes and, most recently, Andre 3000, one half of Outkast, who admiringly observed that Squarepusher's music was "coming from so far out that you can't even imagine what he's thinking". With the ultra-long Ultravisitor, Jenkinson pushes even further out, with industrious drum'n'bass rhythms lending only the most tenuous of formal structures to the scrambled electronic bricolage of tracks like "50 Cycles". The closest he comes to the enigmatic charm of the 2001 single "My Red Hot Car" is on the long title track, which has a similar sense of a ghost of a tune emerging from a swamp of electronic noise. Elsewhere, things are rather more testing: "Steinbolt" is like the heavy metal version of electro, or vice versa - for all its surface chaos, it's grounded in the same air of looming gothick power, an ultimately exhausting experience. The main change from his last studio effort, Go Plastic, is the more pronounced use of bass with jazz-bass figures cropping up, most attractively in "Iambic 9 Poetry". Elsewhere, the full-on attack of tracks such as "C-Town Smash" and "An Arched Pathway" involves a Zappa-esque blend of virtuosity and inscrutability, leaning dangerously close to the jazz-rock of Focus on "Tetra-sync". What can he be thinking?