Thursday, April 19, 2007


Here’s an interesting guy with interesting music that at least seems to be positively influencing hip-hop, rap, and other music (something I’m all for). Squarepusher, or Tom Jenkinson, is a middle-aged Brit that’s bucking all the trends and pushing music in a new direction – a digital direction. Let’s make music with computers. At first thought, being a saxophone and guitar player, this troubles me. It just doesn’t seem as real as belting out that high note, altering your air flow to change intonation, or bending a note by moving a guitar string. But, what is playing piano, if not pushing some buttons. Music always has to be processed through something – vocal cords, the metal and wood of a saxophone. Why can’t it be processed through electronics? I’m starting to warm to the idea. Squarepusher warmed to it long ago and is making it all happen now. What I think most impresses me about Squarepusher is that behind all the computers he’s really one of the best bass players in the world (see the clips below). Dude can really move. But, he’s doing more than just playing bass, he’s making it different. In some ways I think that makes the music harder to follow – a sort of inaccessibility that is sometimes associated with jazz or even jam bands. An interesting quote from the end of an interview posted on his website: “But I'm still left thinking about the music. Six pints later: ‘what are you supposed to do when you listen to your stuff?’ Tom says, ‘You can put it on and dance around like a chicken on fire.’ Enough said.” Well, that’s one way to do it.

Now, how is he influencing hip-hop and rap? Well, they love him! Everybody from Outkast to Tom Yorke to Flea thinks this guy’s bad ass. If that brings some creativity to other genres of music, I’m all for it.

So, if you’re as intrigued as I am, here’s more info on the master:

Squarepusher Website – lots of clips, interviews, and videos
Wikipedia site – interesting squarepusher philosophy, not sure about its validity

Some buddies from Vandy (Leilord and Brian) actually introduced me to this guy. Here are the tracks that they recommended:

Can’t get by with out some YouTube clips!



Leilord and Brian said...

Aw. Look at you gerdon! what an insightful piece you wrote on squarepusher! hopefully more people will start to listen to it. i'll say, to be completely honest, the first time i heard some of his jams i was really response-less. i mean, it totally boggled the mind how all this dysfunctional sounds morphed together to make a melody. but like i told you, the same can be say about john coltranes' "the love below"...very nice.... you should check out the new album "hello everything" the song planetarium in particular i think it may be his best album yet.

Bryan said...

Can't say I'm much into the electronica stuff, but damn, that dude is fun to watch on bass. He slaps the shit outta that thing.

I propose we set up a Square Pusher, Bucket Head, and Future Man collaboration in the near future.

gerdon said...

wow, what a trio that would be...I'm trying to give electronica its fair listen.