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Damogen Furies, his first full-length since 2012's Ufabulum, sees Squarepusher's powers in full flow. The techniques and craftsmanship that he has honed over the course of his career have become some of his signal qualities. He has spent the last decade creating and refining his own unique software system, and this album is the first to be made using that system exclusively. It is the culmination of years spent experimenting with and hacking hardware and software, having long since abandoned the limitations of out-of-the-box offerings. Squarepusher has remained truly experimental in part because he has rejected those limitations, choosing instead a compositional process that places the act of building instruments at its heart. On Damogen Furies we hear a truthful, unembellished representation of how those instruments sound. All of the recordings here were made in one take, with no edits.
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Over the years, TJ's sound has evolved from straight-up drum'n'bass(think Photek-style) to jazz-influenced drumfunk to screaming 200+BPM Aphex-style drill and everything in between. 2012's Ufabulum saw a sort of left turn for the 'Pusher, with its intense melody and searing acid-dripped squelch. Could the king of d'n'b insanity pull what basically amounts to dubstep off? The jury says "YES HE CAN, SIR; SKRILLEX CAN SUCK IT." Here we have what amounts to more of the same, except the drum'n'bass tempos are back. Dark as Dark Matter but brighter than the Sun, intensely melodic and psychotically screaming at the same time.
My only problem with the album is it's basically more of the same that we saw on Ufabulum...there seems to be no evolution to his sound. Not saying it isn't good. This is a great LP in every way...just not a great Squarepusher LP, you know?
For those who enjoy the darker, more glitchy side of TJ's work, this album (and the previous) will send you places. For those looking for jazz'n'bass, well...you might want to dive back into his earlier work; you'll find something you'll like there, guaranteed.
While I don't think it's going to blow anyone's doors off the way Ultravisitor or Hard Normal Daddy did a hundred years ago--does anything blow anyone's mind anymore?--I think people are in for a nice surprise. It still has that spastic vibe to it, but this time it's a bit more commercial on one layer of its stratum. "One" being the keyword here. It still hints at a thematic assemblage of parts here that correspond to a larger whole, and the overall framework I think still hails from his recent work.
Songs like Kontenjaz go from a normalish EDM sound to amphetamine freakout fairly quickly so don't think you are going to be doing ecstasy to this stuff unless you are nuts. Exjag Nives has a nice bassy breakout to it that remains danceable through most of it. Probably one of his most outward and mainstream tracks to date and yet it's good, really good.
I also really dig tracks like Baltang Ort, Kwang Bass, and D Fronzent Aac; I feel they give us a creepy vibe that's been missing from some of his work lately. I don't really have time for tracks like Baltang Arg that don't really seem to go anywhere, though, most of the record at its worst is still very decent. That track just seems too busy for its own good, but the album finishes well like a nice glass of wine. 4.5 stars here. Worthy of the name. Compact and engaging.
You have to be a truly dedicated student of esoteric electronica to appreciate (nevermind enjoy ... it's frankly just not that kind of experience) this release.
But you just can't ignore the Man.
Listen and learn ... one way, or the other.
This album blows the overrated acts like Skrillex and Deadmau5 out of the water.