The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Feed Us Weird Things: Artists On Their Favourite Squarepusher Music
Patrick Clarke , June 17th, 2021 10:10

To mark the new reissue of Squarepusher's debut album 'Feed Me Weird Things', the likes of Loraine James, John Frusciante and Danalogue pick their favourite albums and tracks by the game-changing producer


Pete Cunningham of Ishmael Ensemble on Hello Everything (2006)

I first came across Squarepusher at Glastonbury 2005. I'd been going to the festival with my parents since I was a kid but this was the first year I started to explore the place for myself. I spent the morning looking through the programme, then a massive Yellow Pages-like book, circling the acts I wanted to see. Squarepusher was a name I recognised through association with the drum & bass scene and like the aspiring junglist I was, I eagerly headed down to the brand-new Dance Village. At first I was a bit miffed by what I saw, my older brother and his mates were all seasoned ravers and I used to religiously listen to their Slammin Vinyl & Helter Skelter tapepacks, fantasising about the day I’d finally pop my rave cherry, however this transcended all preconceptions of what I knew dance music to be. I recognised the chopped amen breaks and guttural whomping basslines but the way they were being twisted and mangled by this guy on stage with a few synths and a bass guitar was mind blowing. This was the start of a long fascination with the work of Tom Jenkinson that’s been a constant source of inspiration since.

I remember going back to school the September after that Glastonbury performance and the music department had had a facelift. The school had invested in a new set of iMacs with an early edition of Logic which the teachers at the time had no idea how to use, so me and a few mates took it upon ourselves to stay behind after lessons and learn how to chop samples and generally work out how the hell the likes of Squarepusher, Aphex Twin and Four Tet made the sounds they did, often with very bad results although still very fun. I’ll always remember those early years exploring the far corners of electronic and sample-based music, discovering Warp Records, the likes of Matthew Herbert, The Avalanches and DJ Shadow and trying to impersonate them all on Logic and later, Cubase.

Ultravisitor and Hello Everything were the two Squarepusher records that soundtracked this period but it was the latter that really stayed with me. As well as DJing and making beats on a computer, I played saxophone, guitar & a little bit of keyboard and it was records like this that made me realise these two musical worlds of mine could live together harmoniously. Even the front cover was eye-opening, Jenkinson’s hands playing the various instruments used to make the record allowed me to see the possibilities of what I could do both as a musician and a budding “producer”. Tracks like ‘Bubble Life’ & ‘Circle Wave’ sounded like the band I always wanted to be in yet through this incredibly unique and recognisable Squarepusher lens. Even to this day, although Ishmael Ensemble is becoming more and more of a collaborative project, every new piece of music starts with me exploring all the instruments and possibilities I have to hand, forever inspired by these records I found as a teenager.

Photo by James Koch