15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2006
...a new great Warp album. Tom Jenkinson returns to tickle your sampling fancy with this excellent follow up to 2004's Ultravisitor. With a little more solid musical variety than Ultravisitor, this is more melodic than previous albums; more toned down. That's not to say there isn't an exception. "The Modern Bass Guitar" follows the same neurotic path and unearthly sampling techniques that were used in songs like "Greenway's Trajectory" and "Go Spastic" off of the album "Go Plastic". Tracks like "Theme From Sprite" and "Bubble Life" show us Jenkinson's amazing bass guitar talent. Other songs like "Hellow Meow", "Planetarium" and "Welcome to Europe" display a little of the newer melodic direction this album offers. Other than the occasional noise track, this album is full of new treats that will delight any Squarepusher fan. To me, it may not be "Big Loada" or "Hard Normal Daddy", but this is an excellent comeback from a brilliant musician. All in all, Squarepusher fans should not be dissapointed.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2006
Perhaps 3.5 more accurately reflects my feelings about this album. If you're a 'Pusher fan looking for Drill you're not going to find it here. Where sometimes Tom can veer away from melody and towards a more rhythm oriented style - Well this album is saturated in tunes. Hello Meow, Welcome To Europe and Planetarium, will lodge themselves in your head and refuse to come out. Theme From Sprite, Rotate Electrolyte, Plontius, and The Modern Bass Guitar are all excellent tracks too, but the album could easily do without Circlewave, Cronecker King, Vacuum Garden and Orient Orange. There's not enough detail and focus to keep you interested. The Bonus 3" is, in my opinion, a waste of time. There is much better ambient music out there, and tracks 3 - 5 are nearly identical.
Had this album instead been an EP, With a tracklisting of 1, 2, 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11, I would be hard pushed to rate it anything other than a perfect five, but as it stands, the previous "Ultravisitor" still reigns on high.
If you liked Hard Normal Daddy, you'll lap this up.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2007
This is the second squarepsuher album I've bought and after my introduction to Jenkinson's music in the form of the controlled chaos of Go Plastic it never escapes me that many of the tracks on this album seem comaparatively tame.
Tracks like Hello Meow and Welcome to Europe are cute, catchy, even poppy electro numbers which are fine, even good but it's hard to beleive that these have been done by the same man who brought us The Exploding Psychology and Boneville Occident. Tracks like the electronic wirlpool of The Modern bass Guitar provide reassurance, a pinch on the arm to be sure we're not in some kind of nightmare where Tom jenkinson's left behind his will and talent to experiment with music in favour of a dillute, mainstream acceptable sound.
-Vacuum Garden is a shameful waste of 6 minutes of your life, don't listen to it. Circlewave 2 is a calm, soothing classical guitar peice which is well worth listening to as a slower, easier track.
-Rotate Electrolyte is the best straight up peice of techno on the album which varies from harsh to cool sounds.
-Plotinus is an exemplary marraige of Drum and Bass and Squarepusher's Jazz influences but doesn't go easy on the ears.
-The Modern Bass Guitar further pushes the boundries (although has no bass playing in it ironically) but is never wanton, the melodies are mangled but they're there, the mood is intense from whimsical to haunting.
-Orient Orange is a blend of ambient and almost avent-garde jazz drumming, wierd and 10 minutes long but actually very atmospheric.
The bonus Vacuum Track disc is for the most part cack but Melt 1 does hold some interest.
This is probably the best Squarepusher album for casual listeners of the genre and hasn't completely abandoned the left field stylings of earlier releases but those of us who've come to love Go Plastic or Music is Rotted One Note may be dissapointed. Even if many of the tracks are tame they're still enjoyable to listen to, so don't be too put off by my musical snobbery. Although to be honest; I've got my fingers crossed he returns to form next album round.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
So, how do you follow 'Ultravisitor', one of the most incredible mind humps in the history of the recorded sound? If you're Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, you do what Autechre did after the point of no return 'Confield' and move backwards. After going to the absolute edge I suppose it's all you can do, and at least unlike Autechre Tom remembered the melodies to give us something, because one problem with going to the edge and then retreating is that all there really is left to do is fart about a bit in the studio.
That's exactly what Tom does on 'Hello Everything', and most of the album feels like a man on auto cruise, messing about, but too comfortable at what he does to do anything that's actually interesting. Not that the album's a bad one, the title and artwork are very suggestive of what it sounds like, melodic and cheerful, for the most part anyway, and there are some killer tunes within, such as download single 'Welcome to Europe', 'Planetarium' and 'The Modern Bass Guitar', which is probably the closest that Tom comes to the 'Feed Me Weird Things' mix of fun and noise that 'Hello Everything' strives to be. The problem lies in just about every other track, the first three are all inseperable from each other, meaning that they wash over you and unless you check the cd player you'll probably not know what one you're on. Then there are the non-melodic duo of 'Orient Orange', ten and a half minutes of not much at all that closes the album leaving a bad last impression, and 'Vacuum Garden', which may be even more pointless, consisting of a whine that merely annoys over its six plus minutes.
At this point I should note that the bonus cd ain't worth a bean, as it appears to be previous attempts at 'Vacuum Garden' were rejected, not a patch on the awesome bonus cd that came with 'Ultravisitor'. It plays a bit like an abstract ambient ep, and anyone who's heard 'Selection Sixteen' will tell you, Squarepusher and ambient don't mix.
So what to make of 'Hello Everyting' then? Frustrating would probably be the word I'd used. This could have been another 'Feed Me Weird Things' or 'Hard Normal Daddy', noisy fun that's inspirational as well. Instead it's a missed opportunity, nothing on it is new or innovative, and beyond some catchy tunes there really isn't alot to recommend here for hardcore Squarepusher fans. Hell two of the better tracks from the sessions, 'Hanningfield Window' and 'Exciton', were left off the album, only being available to download or on a limited edition vinyl available from Warp, further highlighting how much Jenkinson missed the point with this one.
Newbies to Squarepusher may enjoy this, it's by far and away his easiest album to listen to, but it doesn't serve as a good introduction to him as everything else is way heavier. To a Squarepusher fan, besides some good tunes that save it, it's merely okay. Maybe there was an excellent mini-album here, but as a full length experience it just doesn't cut it.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2006
The man looks and sounds like a contestant from Robot Wars, but underneath he is the Jimi Hendrix of bass guitar. Mix this incredible funky, innovative bass playing with an electronic style that reminds me very much of the Future Sound of London and you have a real feast of an album. So much to listen to in each track and lots of diversity between them. Highly recommended.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 15 October 2006
I have always found squarepusher albums to be a bit hit-and-miss, usually having a few concisely brillient tracks, burried within slightly too much experimentation and jazz-infuenced experimental noodling. This effort is a nice step away from that, being much more consistant than his most recent work. Almost everytrack is enjoyable, with blissfully joyfull melodies and a lush, warm feel that pervades throughout. The few truely experimental tracks are thin enough on the group to be appreciated for what they are, and Tom Jenkinson's instrumental efforts are reigned in from excessive improvisation to tightly pre-meditated and nicely played facets of individual pieces, only adding to the warmth and uplifting effect of the album.
Some fans may be left wanting however, as there is a noticible lack of drum complexity. Most of the percussive work is either jazzy grooves with a real drumkit, or understated use of the amen with very little of Jenkinson's trademark micro-production. This does however give the 'live' sounding synth work more space to breathe.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 February 2007
This will disappoint a few people because it is understated, even kind of soundscape-y at times, and its true that if Autechre or Venetian Snares had put out an album like this it would have been a baffling change of direction, but unlike with those 2 acts, I don't think you can measure how hardcore a Squarepusher fan you are by how much drilling and squelching you can put up with, because he simply doesn't do it often enough. Come on lads, we've had Music is Rotted One Note and Feed me Weird Things, even Ultravisitor had tender interludes, so we shouldn't still be getting arsey every time he drops the tempo. Furthermore, if like me you find that Go Plastic, Hard Normal Daddy and even dare I say it FMWT drag a bit towards the end because they seem to use a fairly small pool of sounds, well, Jenkinson addresses that problem here by using a massive variety of synths including more acoustic-live-instruments derived stuff.
For me, the majority of the tracks here DO work, 'Theme from Sprite' is a downtempo, feelgood masterpiece, there's great bass playing rescuing 'Bubble Life', I love all that sub-Spanish Inquisition-y stuff during the second half, and the Modern Bass Guitar is the one great full on drum and bass track despite featuring an amazingly laughable melody.
I wanted to give this 5 stars because I've grown so fond of the best bits, but unfortunately there are a few duff bits- 'Planetarium' sounds like Sci-Fi cheese, and the arpeggiated synth sounds are an uncharacteristically blatant faux-pas, and if they're supposed to be tongue in cheek, its too subtle a joke for this reviewer.
Whether or not Jenkinson is justified in whacking all these tracks on to the same disc is more contentious, personally I think it does more or less hang together for some intangible reason, and I would argue that if you don't like a bit of dossing around in the studio, I'm surprised you're still listening to Squarepusher at all.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2006
I have always be a fan of Squarepusher and rather than go into a long and detailed description of each track in full, I feel it necessary to express my absolute joy in owning this album. Each time I hear it I find something new that I love. It has the ability to evoke an emotional response, that happens very rarely.
I strongly advise you listen to this album and form your own opinion.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2007
It's an absolute load of mash ups upon first hearing, the d'n'b aspect is perpetually in full swing throughout, although what makes the culmination of styles this time `round so distinctive is the sophisticated use of electronics; there are no wearing thin bleeps here, it's rather like a pinball machine only there's something in the way of said machine playing up thereby stopping the balls from going elsewhere (i.e. back to the start), this is an experimental leap. The Pac-man on acid pace never falters, as it did a lot with previous releases, it is near perfect from start to finish. There's a strong inclination to classical build ups, a tinkering of playfulness and of course the jazz element is ever present. A chaotic and addictive but sprinkled with gentle, warm and passionate flushes end result, then.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2009
This is the first Squarepusher album I've bought, so I can't really compare it to his other works like everyone else seems to be, but I do feel qualified to say that it is an immensely cool and uplifting album. Most if not all of the tracks take a bit of time to get started, but this just adds to the depth of the magical world which Squarepusher weaves. From the mournful Circlewave 2 to the euphoric Hello Meow and Welcome to Europe, this is just great. Well, with the exception of Vacuum Garden, which is a nice enough noise but it's going to get skipped a lot thank you. Since buying Hello Everything about a month ago, I have developed a compulsion to listen to it at least once a day. Fabulous.