After a 5 year abatement English electronic musician Tom Jenkinson, better known as Squarepusher is back with a new album “Be Up A Hello”, out on the 31st of January. Fans can enjoy a taster as the double-A side 12” Vortrack will be released on the 6th of December, featuring Squarepusher’s Fracture remix.
The new record, influenced by the DIY Essex rave scene, features the textures of both analogue and digital sounds. And as stated in the press release, ‘Be Up A Hello’ “returned to using a bewildering array of vintage analog and digital hardware, the same equipment that first helped him develop his sound in the early ’90s,” reviving sounds of Squarepusher’s past.
“Whilst analogue sounds can be cliched, if you look at the processes that generate them analytically, there are still ways you can create new sonic palates,” Jenkinson says of his decision to switch up his recording process.
In the past couple years, Jenkinson has been steady at work outside of his Squarepusher moniker, forming the experimental techno-electro band, Shobaleader One to reinvent his Squarepusher tracks, composing scores for BBC Children’s television channel, CBeebies and collaborating with James McVinnie on the album, ‘All Night Chroma’.
A5. ‘Detroit People Mover’
B2. ‘Terminal Slam’
B3. ‘Mekrev Bass’
B4. ’80 Ondula’
Squarepusher live at work
You can see Squarepusher live at work in these countries and cities:
- 31st Jan – CTM Festival, Berlin – Germany
- 14th March – Bangface Weekender, Southport – UK
- Thu 9th April – Royale, Boston – USA
- Sat 11th April – Brooklyn Steel, NYC – USA
- Tue 14th April – SAT, Montreal – Canada
- Wed 15th April – Danforth, Toronto – Canada
- Thu 16th April – St. Andrews, Detroit – USA
- Fri 17th April – Metro, Chicago – USA
- Sun 19th April – Bluebird Theater, Denver – USA
- Wed 22nd April – Neumos, Seattle – USA
- Thu 23rd April – Wonder Ballroom, Portland – USA
- Fri 24th April – The Midway, SF – USA
- Sat 25th April – 1720, LA – USA
- 1st May – LEV Festival, Gijon – Spain
- 8th May – Les Nuits Botanique, Brussels – Belgium
- 9th May – Melkweg, Amsterdam – Netherlands
- 13th May – Brudenell, Leeds – UK
- 14th May – Concorde2, Brighton – UK
- 15th May – Roundhouse, London – UK
In an interview Tom was asked on his creative process and how everything evolved starting out as a bass player:
You were originally a bass player, so what triggered off this journey into electronic music?
TMy early thinking about music wasn’t split up into acoustic and electronic. All those categories retroactively superimposed on my musical world, but when I was first recording things off the radio, records from jumble sales, or however I was accessing music, it didn’t come to me in a divided-up way. I had no access to music media, so I was approaching it in its totality; electronic music was as much a part of music as everything else.
To me, the things you use to make music are all fascinating. In the same way I didn’t define music into categories or styles, according to how it was made, I didn’t divide-up instruments – any instrument is interesting to me.
It wasn’t like there was software available to immediately access sound-making things. What’s going to be accessible when you’ve got not money? I used to make instruments, like basic drums. I remember putting a load of drawing pins in a biscuit tin and made a skin out of masking tape; it was like a snare drum.
How much of your music do you allow the machines to take over, as opposed to you being in full control
TMy basic premise is… if I’ve got a tool I’ll try and understand it as deeply as a I can, but that doesn’t mean I’ll always use it with respect or in a sophisticated way.
For me, that doesn’t mean you become a prog wanker, you can be as punk as anyone, but you understand what the sonic manifestations can be. I’m not really a manual guy, I like to get stuck in and if something’s not apparent then I’ll refer to the manual, but part of the enjoyment of it is exploration and the manual gives the game away, if you like.
I have to say, I do think that we’re seeing a lot of music that is preset-driven. I guess sometimes the instrument has an architecture that will steer you around; it will present possibilities that are easier to do than others, but a lot of musicians seem to be demonstrators, because they’ve basically followed the path of least resistance with an instrument and are therefore exposing its principle characteristics.
That’s not something I’m keen to do, not out of egotism because promoting the instrument is of no interest to me, so I’m always trying to steal control back from it really. With some of the instruments I’ve used, people would be surprised about some of the results I’ve got out of them because they’re not designed to do certain things and yet, if you put your mind to it and really get to grips with how it’s built and not the manufacturer’s intentions, any machine will do a number of things above and beyond what the manufacturer intended. It’s just looking at it with an open mind, then those things become apparent.
If you can’t put your finger on the origins of the creative process, could you explain it as a backdrop of stored emotions?
That introduces the problem, and assumption, that what a listener felt when they listened to a piece of music is the same as the person who wrote it felt. I think the listener will tend to make the assumption that what they’re feeling is not only what the composer was feeling, but what they intended the listener to feel. I really don’t think the world’s that simple.
For example, if you reflect on your own experience, I’m sure you’ll find that one record on a given day sounds flat, yet there’ll be a different moment – when you think differently about the world – and suddenly it makes perfect sense and talks to you. It’s such a hall of mirrors that drawing anything resembling a straight line from a composer’s intentions to a listener’s experience is a hiding to nowhere. One thing I would say is that if you’re happy or sad, it tends to affect how quickly you work.
If I’m annoyed or not feeling so good about things I just blunder along, yet I’ve wrote some brutal, aggressive music when I’ve felt on top of the world. It’s not like I’m sitting there punching things in the studio and generating this aggressive, nightmarish soundscape. If you think about it on a world stage, some of the most happy and colourful, vibrant music comes from people who live in diabolical situations.