Squarepusher, also known by his real name Tom Jenkinson, is a British recording artist who composes mainly jazz, electro/acoustic music, drum and bass and acid house. His catalog consists of numerous genres and genre obliterations. However, his most favorite music is jazz, but he likes to combine with drum & bass. He is a bass player of some repute, we might add.
As a general intro if you don’t know who the hell Squarepusher is, why don’t you check out Dark Steering, for example. It captures many of the flavors Squarepusher has come to be known for. Maybe you know this little ditty?
Jenkinson showed interest in music very early in life while studying in Essex at a school affiliated with Chelmsford Cathedral. That’s why the organ music highly influences his work.
At the age of 11, Tom bought a 3/4 size nylon-strung classical and attended a couple of private lessons, but soon after that, he decided to teach himself. This was as a result of the fact that he found his teacher’s answers of his questions unsatisfactory.
He joined his first band at the age of 12 and in the following years he played bass guitar in numerous gigs across East England and London. During the 90’s he started to show any interest in the acid house, techno, house music and hardcore. This resulted in his friendship with the co-founder of Spymania – Hardy Finn.
Notable Albums by Squarepusher
V. Selection Sixteen (1999)
For less than $14 you can purchase a vinyl copy of one of the most underrated albums of Squarepusher. This is the most acid techno related record he has ever released. In fact, it was really great, and people never understood why he didn’t experiment more with it in his next albums.
At the time of the album’s release, Tom had been working as a regular DJ in various clubs located in Sheffield. “Snake Pass” is a fantastic track, which makes a great combination with “Mind Rubbers.” These two together with “Schizm Track #1” and “Schizm Track #2” make this album a genuine pearl.
IV. Hello Everything released in 2006
After a series of acid tracks had been made, Tom decided to create another album even thought that he first stated that he had no intention of doing so. Some of these tracks were played at Warp’s 20th anniversary in Sheffield 2009 by Tom, himself.
Many believe that Hello Everything was his last great record. They might have a point!
III. Hard Normal Daddy
This is the first album developed for Warp, and Tom used the same equipment, which he used in Feed Me Weird Things. He wanted to move over to the more soundtrack-type of sound and pushed away the jazz influence.
The sleeve artwork was influenced from sceneries the town he lives in has. The cover image features the Gasometers near the place he lived as a teenager.
II. Go Plastic
Squarepusher’s Go Plastic album is really experimental, but it consists of some of the greatest moments of Squarepusher’s composition. “The Exploding Psychology” reveals his incredible creativity, and it’s a true bliss to listen it.
In this album, you can find one of Jenkinson’s most straightforward drum & bass tracks and the semi-radio-friendly record “My Red Hot Car”.
In January 1997, Tom moved to a flat in London where he even filmed the “xxx” documentary. During that time, Tom claimed that he had experienced numerous nightmares about the end of the world.
Part of this album is the record “Journey To Reedham” which was an 8-bit project developed on a computer for a computer game. Meanwhile, “Come on my Selector” has turned out to be his most famous tracks, whereas the director of the video Chris Cunningham also played a major role in this success.
What else in the Squarepusher goodie bag?
Throughout his career, Squarepusher has created some very controversial albums, which go far beyond the mainstream and have even been known to throw off some of his loyal fanbase at times.
Budakhan Mindphone is one of such album, which did not offer what people had come to expect. It’s a compilation of weirdness and elements of jazz music. That said, one of Squarepusher’s ultimate tracks can be found on Budakhan – the supremely chill Iambic 5 Poetry.
Music Is One Rotted Note, is regarded as the more accessible and funky cousin of Budakhan Mindphone. It is a jazz record that forces trad jazz-o’s to decide whether they want to accept Tom into their ranks. Jazz meets electro? Many would rather just read a heady book and listen to Kind Of Blue, thank you very much. The album does make a statement, and those of us with open minds don’t ignore this.
Lastly, we’ll mention “Do You Know Squarepusher”, an album where the title track named after it is considered as one of the best electronic records ever produced.
At the end of the day, Squarepusher is someone you might want to get to know. He offers a lot of sounds, and experiments on the regular. He has predicted genres of music, but generally speaking, he rides his own wave into the sunset. Plenty of albums to dig into, and really we can recommend any/all of them for the newb who has yet to come ear-to-speaker with this prodigious young fellow Tom Jenkinson.