3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
An album of two halves...,
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This review is from: Ufabulum (Audio CD)
Squarepusher's latest album Ufabulum... It came out about a year ago and I've been listening to it on and off since. As a whole. the album feels very much an album of two halves, split right down the middle, showcasing arguably some of his best work and some of his most uninspiring.
The first track feels very much like it's designed to be euphoric and uplifting, but it fails to strike any sort of a chord with me. The next 2 or 3 songs follow similar suit with soaring synth parts and catchy (annoying) melodies. All of these songs get a similar sort of review from me, the first half of the album honestly sounds like a cross between a soundtrack to the worst Sega Saturn Game you can imagine and the kind of background music you hear when the league tables appear on Eurosport's coverage of the bobsleigh. And I cant stress that enough. Even though there are enjoyable moments hidden in there, I always get those sort of images in my head. I was very much surprised to hear the track 'Unreal Square' make an appearance during the BBC's coverage of the Olympics last year... so I can only imagine a couple of their producers had a similar feeling towards those tracks that I did. It almost feels like those songs were designed for that specifically, which makes for a rather offputting listen as an album.
'Red In Blue' acts as a sort of quiet before the storm and a significant turning point. All remaining tracks feel somewhat darker, noisier, more atmospheric, more energetic, chaotic... It's like an entirely different album altogether. Some of it could be described as an uneasy listen, but in a way that feels way more exciting and uplifting than anything the first half had to offer. Definitely 'edge of your seat' music, and each remaining track has an entirely different way off getting that across.
The track 'Dark Steering' is probably among my favourite songs from last year, and the fact I still listen to that and the rest of Ufabulum probably doesn't mean it's a bad album, I just think it's a confusing release as I love some parts and hate others... If the tracks from 'The Metallurgist' onward had been released as 'The Ufabulum EP' I'd give that EP 5 stars... no question, and if that questionable first half had been released as it's own EP with some nice colourful cover art, I dare say I'd look at that in a different perspective. But Maybe I'm over-analyzing things.
So in all, some very very good stuff, and some uninspiring 'annoying' stuff, but I guess i do find myself with a similar opinion with regards to Squarepusher's discography. I absolutely love some parts of it, and some parts don't do as much for me. But in a way I'm glad he does release his albums in the way he does. I'd chose extremes of good and bad any day over a discography of complete mediocrity.