Tom Jenkinson is the talented, English, multi-instrumentalist composer known professionally as Squarepusher. He is a towering figure in the world of glitchy, mind-bending electronic music. He exploded out of the ’90s UK electronic music scene, which became a breeding ground for experimentation—formulating a less dance-oriented, “deeper listening” style of beat music. Squarepusher’s music is an abstract and jazzy style of breakbeat. Fusing acid techno and blazing fast sampled drum breaks tediously chopped into place. Subangular rhythms and complex melodic motifs put people’s minds to work processing every alien synth tambor and decoding every cracked out groove. Squarepusher definitely leans into these qualities on his newest project Be Up A Hello.
“Oberlove” is an accessible and satisfying introduction—the melody is simplistic and reminiscent of the Ode to Joy, just played on computers and layered with fast programmed beats. “Nervelevers” feels corrosive, acidic and sharp. The track is an alien transmission full of screaming bass lines and jittery percussion. “Speedcrank” and “Terminal Slam” are both manifestations of an aggressive, inhuman and futuristic sound. The dizzying flurry is robotic, technically dazzling and yet full of drama and emotion. “Detroit People Mover” and “80 Ondula” are nice breaks from the action, providing the tracklist with some breathing room in the form of wide-open ambient pieces. These tracks move with subtle gravitas that adds to the cohesion and structure of the rest of the project.
Be Up A Hello is a must-listen for fans of fast-paced beats and alien sound design. This addition to Squarepusher’s discography brings his core sound into new sonic extremes, hopefully introducing his music to new ears and influencing a new batch of electronic music experimenters.