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Shobaleader One: d'Demonstrator

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 19, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

This is by far the most accessible record Squarepusher (aka Tom Jenkinson) has ever made. This was not the original intent, but the result is clear. This record will change the way people view Squarepusher. Having been known as a leader and innovator in Drum 'n Bass and various forms of up tempo electronic music for 15 years, Jenkinson was always able to push the boundaries of the genre, but on ''Shobaleader One: d'Demonstrator'', he is pushing so far beyond his previous releases it is easy to hear why it might take a few listens to register that this is indeed a Squarepusher record. Vocals? R&B rhythms? Heavy synths? These and other un-Squarepusher like elements form what could even be described as 'baby makin' music'. Jenkinson's vast knowledge of rhythm and harmony help to make these songs much more than nu-soul R&B, they are truly an entity unto themselves.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warp Records
  • ASIN: B0041NZNN6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,079 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marblehead VINE VOICE on November 3, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Each time Tom Jenkinson makes me believe that he can't get any better, he comes forth with yet another curveball that's more fresh, innovative, and inspiring than any of his previous efforts. This time, Jenkinson manages to keep his own unique and crazy sound while somehow displaying an acute ear for pop music. He's always embraced jazz and felt the funk, but to know that he can tackle popular music and make it all his own forces one to wonder just how far Squarepusher can go.

Squarepusher's music has always been an acquired taste, and demanded some patience from the standard listeners. Those who appreciate experimental music, though, have been treated to some of the most avant-garde and inspiring electronic sounds this side of Aphex Twin and Boards Of Canada. However unapproachable his music has been in the past, the only aspect of "Shobaloader One: d'Demonstrator" that might be hard for passers-by to digest is the title of the album itself. It's interesting that he titles one of his most palatable records with such a daunting title, but maybe that's the point.

"SO: d'D" extends what came out of his recent efforts "Just A Souvenir" and "Numbers Lucent" in that they tackle a slightly retro sound and intertwine it with high energy electro madness that sound distinctly Squarepusher. He never quite loses that drum 'n bass type of sensibility, but he's always tweaking and updating it, constantly keeping the listener slightly off-balance. What's so unique about this new album is his deployment of pop sensibilities swathed by vocals on nearly every track. However, it's not straight-up vocals like you hear on Jenkinson's cover version of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" - the vocals come via a vocoder and sound dangerously close to Daft Punk.
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With the awkwardly titled "Shobaleader One: d'Demonstrator," Tom Jenkinson fully commits to a refinement of the sound he hinted at with portions of 2008's "Just a Souvenir." The big revelation: Squarepusher can write lush, sexy pop songs, and not just every now and then. Here's essentially an entire album of insanely catchy electro-pop without the jazz fusion interludes he's historically been fond of. SO:d reflects a purity of vision that rivals that of "Go Plastic," though musically it inhabits a different universe. Those were willfully dense, abrasive, and thoroughly difficult pieces. These are SONGS.

The album's lead track, "Plug Me In," and "Abstract Lover" are both retro-futuristic slow jamz that should have R&B artists on their knees at Tom's doorstep begging for him to produce. "Synchronize our soul . . baby, that's how we roll . . " he and his vocoder purr in the former. That's as good a description for these two tracks as any . . "synchronized soul." What does that mean? I don't know, but it sounds right.

"Megazine" is getting the most notice, partially because of the video featuring the hoodie-and-LED-mask clad Shobaleader One "band." I wouldn't be surprised if "Megazine" becomes 'Pusher's best-known track ever, as it's a hurtling Daft Punk-style rave up that will have the faceless Frenchmen embarassed they ever released "Robot Rock." It's as catchy as "My Red Hot Car" without the salacious lyrics, and works equally well in the club or through headphones in your bedroom. Even thinking about this track will get your head bobbin'.

"Into the Blue" is a dreamy pop confection that reminded me instantly of Frou Frou's "Let Go." It, more than any other track here, gets more and more addictive with repeated listens.
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By S Ross on November 7, 2010
Format: Audio CD
[...] spends the first half of their review of this album accusing this record nothing short of plagiarizing Daft Punk's sound. I used to read Pitchfork, but after realizing 1. this record really sounds nothing like Daft Punk, despite it's copious use of vocoders and synths, and 2. This record actually is IMO pretty great, and deserving of at least a 7.5, not a 4.2 - I am reconsidering my readership of Pitchfork altogether, despite some decent music journalism here and there, I feel (in more cases then just this) they are getting too arrogant, and too sloppy. You just have to listen to work more then a few times in order to fairly review something, and you should also know enough about context not to make superficial comparisons based on some all too obvious formal similarities.

All over the internet, reviewers are giving this record poor ratings, all I can say is, they're full of beans. This album is amazing, every song is worthwhile, and as someone who's been listening to Squarepusher since the old days, I'm glad he just keeps evolving and trying new things - if not altogether new, then new directions for him. It's rare that in the long-term, he has ever put something out devoid of merit, and even his most challenging work opens up after repeated listens. I think in the internet age, people just don't give art it's due anymore. Most of this stuff is pretty catchy right out of the box, and what isn't grows on you. They're great songs, and clearly time was put into creating them.

I can't wait to hear this stuff live, I hope he tours it.
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