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In-depth Feature:  Squarepusher - Documentary and Live Footage
A talented bass player at the cutting edge of Drum n Bass
Sonic writes: .


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Squarepusher
A bit of an enigma, Tom Jenkinson A.K.A. Squarepusher is one of the Drum n’ Bass superstars. A multi-instrumentalist, playing drums, keyboards, synths, but majoring on bass guitar – his style is akin to jazz fusion icon Jaco Pastorius. He’s taken the borders of the Drum n’ Bass domain and blown them away.

Now signed to Warp records, his rise to fame started through two EPs: 1994’s Nothings Clear and Conumber in 1995. With his first album called Feed me Weird Things, released on Aphex Twins Rephlex label in 1996, Squarepusher began to get noticed. Tom is a friend of Richard D James (Aphex Twin), both of them being accredited with their pioneering approaches to electronic music.

On his first album, Feed Me Weird Things, Squarepusher blends crazy drum n bass beats with ambient backdrops and Weather Report-like melodies and arrangements, Tom often sampling his own excellent playing to make up the samples. His father was a jazz drummer and Tom played both bass and drums in his school years, though he is mostly self-taught, he achieved a high level of skill and uses it liberally. Not afraid to play live, he travels relatively light with a laptop, a couple of boxes and his bass. Seminal Squarepusher gigs include Glastonbury, the Royal Albert Hall (where he performed a medley of Hendrix tunes on the bass as part of a tribute gig), Japans Mount Fuji Rock and Belgiums Ten Days of Tehno.


Just me an me bass

During his formative listening years based in Chelmsford, Essex in the UK, Tom was hoovering up all sorts of Jazz and dub reggae influences, he was then introduced to techno through the likes of experimental techno artist LFO, who were also signed to Warp. It was from this point that he began to assemble his music with a heavy jazz bent.

It seems his family has a strong musical streak, two of his three brothers are involved in music too: Andy who performs under the name Ceephax Acid Crew, and Jonny who DJ’s at his brothers gigs from time to time.

Squarepushers music can undoubtedly be challenging, with many finding it hard to get into on the first listen. But it can also be atmospheric and beautiful too. Perhaps the closest thing he’s had to a hit is 2001 single My Red Hot Car which demonstrates both an ear for melody and cunning use of technology.

Tom has developed in interesting philosophy when it comes to the machinery that is used to make music. In an article for Flux magazine (www.fluxmagazine.com) he states:

"the machines used to make music hold just as much influence on the users as the users do themselves, and that humans do not control these machines independently; we hold the same mutual creative capacity as they. He says that the restraints musical instruments held in the past were quintessential to music composition and that the insignificance of modern classical music, as a result of new technology, exposes this point. This, he says, is why machines themselves now contribute so much influence to musical composition."

His next release titled "Hello Everything" is scheduled for release on October 16th (2006) on Warp Records.

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