quarepusher’s latest release, Do You Know Squarepusher mines a lot of the territory that his return to drill ‘n bass, Go Plastic, did. He also mines the territory that Richard Devine explored on his work Aleamapper. He even takes a stab at the rap inversions of Funkstorung and Autechre. On the last track, he takes a straight ahead look at Joy Divison’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. All in all, Squarepusher knows a lot of other people and what they’re doing. But it doesn’t seem like he’s doing anything himself.
Regarded as one of the pioneers of a genre of music based on the destruction of another, Jenkinson has constantly been attempting to find his place in the musical pantheon since his greatest achievements. Breakbeats can only stretch so far and cartoon melodies can only amuse for so long, it seems. So brought the jazz explorations and then the acid tinged tracks on Selection Sixteen. Finally, with Go Plastic there were hints of a new Squarepusher- one willing to distort the trappings of a genre in order to further it, instead of a brilliant pastiche of its finer moments.
We have that here, again, with the title track, which is an exceptional piece of work that bounces along happily in a place unencumbered by any sort of genre names or classifications. It is simply good. Simply put, however, the rest of the album is the opposite of this: boring and bad.
A vaguely interesting distorted rap track follows “Do You Know Squarepusher” that follows in the tradition of Autechre’s “Ccec”, but reminds more of the great Autechre cover band, Funkstorung. The lyrics don’t seem to be very important here, as it is constantly undercut by a stuttering rhythm, but the vocalist seems to be rapping about “parallel ports” and “polynomials”. It is a track with a great deal of promise, but falls on its face when put next to the title track and then grouped with the rest of the album.
As hinted at before, the rest of the songs (before the cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”) walk a similar line of “Wow! Haven’t I heard you/someone else do this before in a far more interesting manner at some point?”
The same, in fact, can be said for the final song, which defies explanation as to why it was chosen for inclusion on this disc, if only to prove that Jenkinson can play real instruments when he wants and play them fairly well.
Tacked onto the disc is a live show from Japan. As with the disc of original material: for completeists only.