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Baker's Dozen

Semi-Chaotic Elements: Ekoplekz' Favourite Albums
The Quietus , June 4th, 2015 11:11

With his third album on Planet Mu out, Nick Edwards gives us an in-depth trawl through his top 13 LPs, a Baker's Dozen that scans his formative 90s electronica influences and acts as a "reference point" to Reflekzionz


Squarepusher - Feed Me Weird Things
This record literally exploded on my consciousness when it came out. I'm not generally impressed by flashy musicianship or complex sequencing, but such was the talent and sheer head-fucking ingenuity of this album that it was impossible to resist. The opening track 'Squarepusher Theme' is still a thing of wonder. The way [Tom] Jenkinson could make those programmed drums fly, so tight but so fucking loose as well. And the way the track is packed with events; just when you think it has nothing else to give it puts in an extra spurt and finds another little noodly avenue to explore for, like, sixteen bars, before hurtling down another one. It makes you want to giggle like a little kid. But then from there it's straight into 'Tundra' with that eerie synth pad, building up with the tinny percussion sounds, then - wallop! - in comes that Amen break with the sub-bass and suddenly the mood is very serious, proper junglist business. And this is all just in the first ten minutes. The whole album is just full of amazing cuts, exploring nearly all of the musical areas Jenkinson is associated with. You can hear elements of dub, hip-hop, free jazz, even a bit of industrial on 'North Circular' with those brutally chopped and gated drums. The whole album encapsulates everything great about Squarepusher, and he's made some great records since (and some not so great) but everything you could wish for was already there, fully-formed, on the debut.

After this, a lot of artists in the Warp/Rephlex axis, from Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert (as Plug) and Mike Paradinas started flirting with junglist ideas, and laying the foundations for drill & bass and breakcore. It was like they were all having a musical conversation with each other and we were listening in. I had been mucking about with breaks myself, trying to find an interesting new angle on the drum & bass thing, but I pretty much gave up after I heard what Jenkinson was doing. When it comes to appropriating junglist techniques, I don't think anyone has bettered Squarepusher for sheer musicality and breathtaking skill.