SQUAREPUSHER: Squarepusher Presents Shobaleader One – d’Demonstrator (Warp Records)


Posted on Oct 26th 2010 10:13 pm

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Squarepusher: Squarepusher Presents Shobaleader One - d'Demonstrator

Squarepusher Presents Shobaleader One: d’Demonstrator
Warp Records 2010
09 Tracks. 44mins40secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

Do you know Squarepusher? This is what Tom Jenkinson was cheekily asking almost ten years ago, and he’s since regularly deflected preconceptions on his work, which resulted most spectacularly last year with the release of the superb Solo Electric Bass 1 album, which, as its title indicated, stripped his music back down to its most basic component, Jenkinson’s electric bass. With this new album, he moves the goal post once again away from the concussed drill’n’bass playground that he has made his over the years.

This latest affair started when a bunch of kids got in touch with Jenkinson with the prospect of bringing the fictitious band he had dreamt about, which subsequently led to Just A Souvenir two years ago, to life. As preposterous as the idea was for the notoriously lone ranger Jenkinson,, he was intrigued by the audacity of his interlocutors, enough to grant them some time to work together and record some tracks, or so goes the story anyway. The result is d’Demonstrator, a collection of free jazz-infused slo-mo electro-funk tainted with big dollops of off-kilter spaced out disco, and smeared with enough vocoder frills to give Daft Punk a stellar hard on. The Daft Punk synergy goes even further with the LED-faced monk-like figure pictured on the cover of the record as to guard the entrance of a highly selective club.

Things kick off in pretty subdued style with the surprisingly luscious and sensual Plug Me In. In fact, it almost feels as if Jenkinson was simply replugging his instruments at the end of the Solo Electric Bass sessions, just to check whether they were still in working order. Watery bass, sluggish groove and a first vocoder assault, this is not precisely what Squarepusher has got us used to, but it works rather well, and it continues to do so later on on the somewhat funkier and more electrically-charged Endless Night, served by cascading eighties-style keyboard motifs and chords, something which also defines Laser Rock, its fuzzed-up electro eventually imperceptibly pushing the omnipresent vocoder out of the picture for a moment. Later on, Megazine and Maximum Planck increase the pressure, the former by simply quickening the pace, the latter by making it much heavier and greasier. Elsewhere, the mood is distinctly lighter, from the breathy tones of Into The Blue and the overly chilled Frisco Wave to the snaking electro-jazz of Abstract Lover. Far from Jenkinson’s usual incendiary beats or syncopated bass lines, these prove almost uncomfortably catchy.

As the album progresses, its restrictive scope becomes more apparent. The vocoder rapidly proves tiresome, and the album overall feels somewhat too uniform and lacking momentum to make a real impact. Over the years, Jenkinson has tried many settings, more of which have proved interesting if not all entirely successful. Yet, if Solo Electric Bass 1 was exposing Jenkinson in all his virtuosity, d’Demonstrator seems to do exactly the opposite and shows him at his least inspired. Regardless of Shobaleader One actually existing or not, d’Demonstrator ends up being too non-committal, an unfortunate first for Squarepusher


Squarepusher | Squarepusher (MySpace) | Warp Records
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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One Response to “SQUAREPUSHER: Squarepusher Presents Shobaleader One – d’Demonstrator (Warp Records)”

  1. […] lead-member of Shobaleader One, an enigmatic formation which delivered the somehow crowd-divisive d’Demonstrator two years ago, Jenkinson is back as Squarepusher, and it would appear that his little escapade has […]