Friday, June 19, 2009

Squarepusher - Breezeblock Show (2004) (mp3 128kbps)

The difference between Squarepusher in 1996, when Feed Me Wierd Things was recorded, and within just a few months after Hard Normal Daddy was released - it was night and day. He was completely unknown one minute, and the next he was an insider/enfant terrible, a prohet for popular musicians. The very composition of modern music changed, to a great extent, because of the efforts of very un-cool tech heads who spent a lot of time on their own.

I don't think Squarepusher ever wanted to be 'the next big thing.' I find that his music became harder to listen to after 1998's 'Big Loda' compilation. It was a collection of the stuff that didn't make it on the two major works of the period: 'Feed Me...' and 'Hard Normal..." But after those three brilliant outings, the music becomes dark, almost oppositional. 'Music Is Rotted One Note,' 'Selection 16,' 'Maximum Priest EP', 'Budakahn Mindphone' and 'Do You Know Squarepusher' were all released between '98 and '02, and for those looking for the next 'Hard Normal Daddy', it's just not there. He is intentionally challenging his audience with something new, and the result is not always listenable.

But in 2004, 'Ultravisitor' came out, a LONG record with songs that formed a beginning, middle and end to this longer work. Compared to the exploration of the previous five years, this record sounded extremely determined, totally cohesive. He was now incorporating the noise and chaos right into the synth-driven composition. The technology allwed for a sonically more diverse live program and, indeed, portions of the album were culled from the live performaces of the year before. He succeded in bringing all the styles he had worked on and all the sounds he invented and re-invented together in one new sound. No longer was there a 'Squarepusher Theme' (from Feed Me Weird things) or 'My Fucking Sound' (from Do You Know Squarepusher?). Now it was just Squarepusher.

Another huge difference was the artist's attitude toward his audience. The album cover says it all, close up head shot of Tom Jenkinson. No more hiding behind the abstract graphic imagery and dangerous seclusion. As they say in the movies, "Now it's just you and me, sport." He even did some promotion.

Which brings us to this recording. It is a, roughy, 25 minute piece of music, presented by the BBC as one track. It was recorded live by Squarepusher in the BBC studio for the Breezblock program on BBC radio. Around the time of broadcast, the track was also made available for download. It is a beautiful, massive, and completely new work that is presented to the listener in the context of 'Ultravisitor' and that sound, but it is also its own composition, and not merely a live version of music from the record. How much pre-production goes into a work such as this is known only to the musician, but to my ear, it sounds like a lot. This is consistent with recent statements about what Squarepusher might play at upcoming festival performances this summer. He said it depended on how much he could get done before the performance.

This is not for everyone, and it's certainly not background music. It is, however, a very close approximation of what the live performance was like, presented in broadcast quality, at a time when Squarepusher came forth from transition and began to present, with all the delacacy of a chainsaw, another new sound.

The link is in the comments.

1 comment:

MPomy said...