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Alternative & Indie - Released November 10, 1997 | Warp Records

Warp Records was playing catch-up with all the excellent Tom Jenkinson material floating around. Just the previous year the label saw good returns on his Hard Normal Daddy LP, and now it was time to buy the rights to previous tracks released on the Brit jungle boutique label Spymania. The selection here on Burningn'n Tree is crunchy and uneven, but certainly rewarding for collectors losing faith in the hunt for original limited vinyl pressings. As a bonus, Jenkinson throws in three previously unreleased selections; decent while they last, though not especially memorable. The real treats are Spymania's early gems. The disc sprints forward with the 1996 track "Central Line," which seems atypically straightforward with its 4/4 drum lines -- lean and underdeveloped by jungle standards (as well as Jenkinson's), but a perfectly energizing opener. It is tracks like this and "Sarcacid" (also known as "The Duke of Harringay") where he leans on his fantastic bass playing and jazz background, rather than his dizzying programming skills that would bloom on future endeavors. One could argue that here was a time when, perhaps due to equipment limitations, he was more on the musician side of the fence; a man who could play live bass at 240 bpm alongside his hyperactive drum machine, as opposed to the disjointed computer-generated brain chop of Go Plastic or the hazy bong water slosh of Budakhan Mindphone. The compilation here shows Squarepusher in his early days of flight, especially the tracks resurrected from his Conumber EP -- the epic 11-minute title track, plus two barely related versions of "Eviscerate," a wonderful balance of organic sounding jazz, atonal machine loops, and fluid bass playing. Jaco would be proud. The album's second to last track is the sloppy dub abandon of "Toast for Hardy," where Squarepusher's echo chamber effects and distorted mumblings add up to something like a bootleg of Peter Tosh babbling in his sleep. "Sarcacid, Pt. 2" brings the LP to a close, and in quite a satisfying way. Shuffling, open-ended hi-hats do leapfrogs over snare rushes and chromium alloy keyboards -- certainly an example of icy electronica that grooves. This pseudo album is the reason he has several others, albeit more diverse than this collection would suggest. You may not find any jaw droppers here, but no doubt listeners will find reasons to enjoy this organic (though less polished) treasure chest. Thank you, Warp. © Glenn Swan /TiVo

Electronic - Released August 17, 2009 | Warp Records


Alternative & Indie - Released May 21, 2001 | Warp Records

"My Red Hot Car" is the closest thing Tom "Squarepusher" Jenkinson has put out that resembles a Top 40 song, if nothing else, because there are lyrics sung along with it. Beyond that, everything we expect from the artist comes true -- jungle rhythms, erratic bass riffs, and jazzy chord progression. The previous two EPs and his 1998 full-length Music Is Rotted One Note seemed to be swimming around in sloppy freeform jazz, only to return to tighter form with the album Selection Sixteen, and further still with this mostly tight single. Track two's "Red Hot Car" remix sounds like Jenkinson simply put the original song into his computer and threw frequent skips and spins on it, making this the weakest of the set. Next comes "Hardcore Obelisk," an entirely vocal wash of sound, right out of the monkey-meets-monolith scene in Kubrick's 2001; a menacing, ominous drone that, in and of itself, is barely interesting. It is only in conjunction with the rest of the EP that the track works as well as it does. Track 4, "I Wish You Obelisk" (presumably a remix), takes us back to the sputtering percussion that Jenkinson does best, heavily garnished with ring-modulated keyboard noise (a sure-fire bet you won't be humming along to this one). What follows is 23 minutes of silence before a final hidden track appears; one that hearkens back to the mid-'70s release from Brian Eno, Music for Films. A meditative piece that proves to be the hidden gem of this versatile taste of things to come. © Ken Tataki /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released January 19, 2009 | Warp Records


Drum & Bass - Released July 1, 1996 | Warp Records

The year 1996 proved to be groundbreaking for Tom Jenkinson, a musician's musician. Rephlex put out the Squarepusher Plays... EP, along with his first full-length album, Feed Me Weird Things, and then a new chapter in his recording career began with the Port Rhombus EP, the first of many releases on Warp. Previous efforts on labels like Worm Interface and Spymania seemed to suggest that he was trying to make the most of equipment limitations, and therefore leaning more on his skills as a bass player. By the time Warp got a whiff of him, he had all the kinks worked out, he had a distinct sound, and he was a solid addition to the growing label. The title track, "Port Rhombus," steps in on soft pads of electric piano and hi-hat shimmerings that crescendo to a factory full of drummy drills and subdued Spanish guitar licks. Jenkinson finds true beauty in his fragile strummings, while offsetting them with his trademark drum'n'bass rhythm score, which is truly a composition in and of itself. "Problem Child" follows next, the true embodiment of "drum" and "bass," since he is sampling his own live playing of both. The EP comes to a close with "Significant Others," a futuristic, tempo-blending collage of moog keyboards and atonal drones, peppered generously with digital-delay drum machines. With these three tracks, Jenkinson led the pack and deserved more credit than his peers for being an electronic musician, and not just an electronic programmer. He surprises, satisfies, and delivers, all in the course of 16 minutes. Collector's note: A domestic re-release of Squarepusher's 1997 Big Loada EP includes the three tracks from Port Rhombus, along with a CD-ROM video for "Come on My Selector" -- an excellent package for the uninitiated. © Ken Tataki /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released September 4, 2006 | Warp Records


Alternative & Indie - Released March 11, 2013 | Warp Records


Electronic - Released August 30, 2010 | Ed Banger Records


Alternative & Indie - Released July 19, 2004 | Warp Records


Alternative & Indie - Released April 16, 2012 | Warp Records


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