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Jenkinson’s latest opus sees him return to a solo format after 2010’s so-so Shobaleader One experiment with a band format, and is designed to fit with a new live show involving a space-age helmet and much flashing, strobey, abstract imagery. Clips on YouTube suggest that the show is very reminiscent of Orbital at their stadium rave peak. Which is convenient, because this set sounds like Orbital with a severe case of St Vitus Dance.
Fans who especially love Jenkinson’s astonishing, thumb-plunking bass-playing and droll vocal tracks like My Red Hot Car and The Coathanger will be disappointed. Ufabulum is all synth instrumentals all of the time and, unlike previous albums, doesn’t feature a standout classic that draws you into the album’s less accessible elements. From the fidgety glitch of opener 4001 onwards, the mood is that of an ominous soundtrack for an unmade sci-fi movie.
The Metallurgist may revisit the murky junglism of Squarepusher’s early years, while Red in Blue’s beat-less atmospherics resemble the 70s electro-classicism of Wendy Carlos and Isao Tomita. But the mood is similarly dark, relentless and deliberately irritating to those who like their music with at least a little groove and melody. A few surprisingly wishy-washy string-synths aside, it is, as always, hugely impressive – particularly on the steely car engine cut-ups of Dark Steering and 303 Scopem Hard, which sound like they’re auditioning for heavy usage with Formula 1 coverage – but disappointingly cold and forbidding.
One thing you can always count on with Jenkinson, though, is that whatever he does next will sound little like whatever he did last. Here’s hoping he relocates his bass and his sense of humour next time around.
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
I've been aware of Squarepusher/Tom Jenkinson for a long time, yet only have bought a couple of EPs, having tended to park myself down the trance and ambient end of the spectrum... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kraftwerker
very good, especially scopem hard... only dropped 1 star because nothing can be as good as Hard Normal Daddy. Buy.Published 14 months ago by MixingIt
Sound design of the highest degree, plus you can dance and hum along. This almost goes far enough, it never does not enough, rip up a frequency or two more or less and we might... Read morePublished 14 months ago by A W W
Man, this one grows on you. Same feeling I had when I first heard Aphex Twin - an initial "WTF?" gives way to your brain finally hearing the complex rhythms, hihats from... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Basexperience
After being guttingly dissapointed by the Shobaleader One project, I was prepared for the worst so this album came as a very pleasant surprise. Read morePublished 21 months ago by stax
Good album, but Amazon quality of audio is poor. Tempted to go get it from "elsewhere" (Even though I paid for it) as it really isn't good enough.Published on 10 July 2012 by Michael Gerrard
I am a big fan of Squarepusher and for me the top albums where Just Souvenir, Hello Everything. Recent Number Lucent was very cool too. Read morePublished on 18 Jun. 2012 by rad88
This review relates to the VINYL edition.
True, its in a nice box, although unessicary, and a book thing and a CD E.P.
BUT - It sounds horrible. Read more