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Tuneful but not much else!
on 14 October 2006
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.