Squarepusher, Ultravisitor

Tom Jenkinson has been recording as Squarepusher for years. He started out with genre-defining drill-and-bass albums, then moved on to his own peculiar interpretation of jazz. His latest, Ultravisitor, is a part-live, part-studio album, about evenly split between d’n’b and jazz.

The album as a whole is disappointing to me. The drill-and-bass tracks are either stuck in a stale late-90s groove or so harsh as to have me diving for the “skip past this track” button. The jazz tracks are standard middlebrow fare–not unpleasant, but they don’t have any stick-in-your head quality either. Most of the album strikes me as either reprises of earlier fare or obvious derivations of work by newer artists, most obviously Prefuse 73.

The exception to the dross is the third track, Iambic 9 Poetry, which is simply beautiful. The melody is a simple guitar loop, and the complexity of the percussion is what drives the tune and keeps my ear engaged. This track is a classic; the rest of the album is fluff.

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