Squarepusher Be Up a Hello Warp
Tom Jenkinson may have taken a step back from his Squarepusher project in recent years, but that’s not to say he’s been twiddling his thumbs. He formed his robot-fronted Shobaleader One band to reinterpret old Squarepusher cuts, and even scored an ‘ambient hour-long wind down’ CBeebies show. Now, he makes a welcome return to his vast array of vintage analogue hardware for Be Up a Hello.
As the album opens, Jenkinson is in a playful mood – in fact, the most joyous-sounding he’s ever been. Oberlove’s chord progressions are almost tooth-achingly sweet, while Hitsonu could be the saccharine soundtrack to a Gameboy game about puppies. As the record progresses, however, he delves deeper and darker into his signature furious, skittering breakbeats and zipping acid.
Ambient interlude Detroit People Mover offers some respite from the breakneck drums, an oasis of calm before Vortrack’s nervous and slamming acid squelches – a track surely made for cavernous warehouse listening. Terminal Slam matches glitchy drums to ominous bass notes, while Mekrev Bass’ synths rasp argumentatively over 8-bit NES-style chirps.
The album ends on its most unsettling track, the unrelenting 80 Ondula, which serves to reinforce the record’s severe mood drop over time. 25 years into his career, Jenkinson’s lost none of his mischievousness.