Damogen Furies

Damogen Furies needs a massive warning label: "Please clear the immediate space between you and any living/breakable organisms"’ it could say before refuting, "Just don’t hurt anyone with your body thrashing, OK?’ Its stampeding cavernous bass and humungous rhythms rattle and churn every space they touch, so when a veteran electronic producer like Tom Jenkinson is at the height of his powers as Squarepusher, the entire world crumbles right beneath the density of it all. His 14th album pushes and pulls through possible apocalyptic worlds – worlds that aren’t spatially or temporally connected, worlds that you can’t just jump into bemoaning your fate, "I’ve made it! I’ve hopped through paradigms!" You’re compelled to listen for the full 44 minutes, soaking it in as it all gradually reveals itself. It’s not hard to imagine Jenkinson grabbing someone by the ears if they run away, tossing them over the edge into a fiery pit of hell, that’s how viscerally assaulting this feels. There’s no way out but in.

The central key is that, rather unsurprisingly, Damogen Furies is one of the more purely enjoyable electronic music records released in a terribly long time; vital by all means, but even more so considering who the source is. Its nonstop detonations are proficient without a hint of slightness, melodic with a fair bit of sonic chaos, inventive, inviting and plain old mind-fucking fun. A drum and bass album skirting the seas of EDM and trance, hammering away to get you reaching for a painkiller with a toothy smile on your face. It is the sound of Jenkinson the extraterrestrial supercomputer and Jenkinson the dance producer landing in a sweet spot together after years of full-blooded battles between the two.

this album appeals no matter what period of Squarepusher you most admire, be it the electro drone swaddled Ufabulum, the delicate but dense jazz-inclined Hard Normal Daddy, or whether you favour 2001’s My Red Hot Car, over Go Plastic. Whether you need Squarepusher at his most bombastic or bemused, he’s the sort of artist that doesn’t just make the body move, his intention is broader than such a binary might suggest. The newer version of Jenkinson V14 adds more space and support to explore, teasing the obscure in his own time.

If not updated, his musicianship has undoubtedly become even more interesting. Even opener ‘Stor Eiglass’, despite its burst into full-on fury, lures you in with polyrhythmic spluttering jungle beats unfolding into meshes of electro pop. Jenkinson gallivants through every track with authority, like a bona fide traveller traipsing around his sound-world as if standing in front of a spinning globe, eyes crinkled with concentration, ready to go wherever his pointed finger lands.

It’s masterfully arranged, as if a sonic sieve has been used for each track to reaffirm itself, not only in relation to the overall album but also to each other. ‘Baltang Ort’ suctions you in through the electronic wires and suddenly you’re running like a character in a video game, jumping over acid lines vibrating from the clock-like donging below. The music develops quickly unafraid to linger on a specific beat for as long as necessary. With unwavering onslaught ‘Rayc Fire 2’ and its squelching bass line wickedly thrash for the full 4:45. ‘Kontenjaz’ (sounds romantic and rude) is the quickest and bounciest, a decision that ferries momentum into ‘Exjag Nives’. As the pace creeps across the keyboards with a throbbing pulse, it wraps itself around the stunningly dreamy start. It’s an oasis of prolonged Tropicana, like sitting under a palm tree full of black doves on a floating space station. The primitive exotica bursts into heavy spasms with several sets of rhythms stacked against taut drum and bass lines. During transfixing ‘Kwang Bass’, they leave and fly into dissonant crescendos of a repeated reverberating refrain, spattering out a melody with intermittent spookiness, each layer crawling out one at a time.  

When he’s charging over boundless rhythms using every battery in is pack, you might find yourself in the middle of a face-ripping vortex, that if devoured in one go might leave you feeling utterly mutilated and exhausted. It was designed for a live setting (as he explained during his excellent interview with Nick Hutchings in March) and anyone can make a fucking massive noise to achieve a similar sensation, but there’s a patent skill required to build this kind of racket. ‘D Frozent Aac’ comes the closest to this using signature Squarepusher style with terse snares groaning and trading under a wash of warbling high-pitched synth flourishes. That remarkable square for detail is pedantic verging on obnoxious (charmingly so), but makes this his most captivating effort yet.

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