Thursday, 31 May 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #198- Squarepusher, "Ufabulum"

Saw one amazing performance by Squarepusher in an exhaustingly muddy field one Saturday night at Glastonbury in 2005. Lasers were reached for, feelings soared: you know the drill'n'bass. And this is rumoured as a return to Ultravisitor form, so let's lay some ears down.

It opens with "4001", which might be a soundtrack for that very year. Buck Rogers dancing with glass baubles in elegant slow-moving gavottes, beards dripping with whatever mad, honey-based narcotics they've synthesized over the intervening centuries. Drums rattle with riot. "Unreal Square" has an 8-bit streak running through it eight bits wide while the sides fan out in massive, distorted ripples. Not too keen with the direction "Stadium Ice" takes somehow - it's almost as if I like all the musical directions but none of the instruments pointed in them. Enthusiasms are pinched into shape for a while on "Energy Wizard" but it still sounds like the sounds used for chart pop with none of the hooks, a purposeless shuffle.

Drab tones on "Red In Blue" and I'm getting ready to cast the whole album aside. A bad Scyfy channel movie about gigantic molluscs or something. "The Metallurgist" begins with scary sci-fi and adds acidic squelches and some real momentum: first track that quickens my blood and opens my confidence. "Drax 2" continues the optimistic sleek precision and "Dark Steering" gives it a Carpenteresque bite. But I still don't feel as though it's headed anywhere.

Rubbery bounce and grinding alarm noises on "303 Scopem Hard", but it doesn't do enough to overwhelm what I'm starting to find too fussy to listen to without losing patience. Why and when did I go off Squarepusher? "Ecstatic Shock" is exactly what I want; but I'm not getting any of it.

Rating: Drifting out of My Line Of Interest

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