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Limited Edition CD version (only available for indie retail) also includes the Enstrobia CD, bundled in two digipaks, bound by an O card. The regular CD version and Limited Edition come with a 12 page booklet featuring art from the live performance. Widely heralded as a 'return to form' legendary electronic artist Squarepusher has designed his latest LP as the next stage in his iconic lineage and as an awe inspiring live show. From the inception of Ufabulum, he has worked simultaneously on sound and picture. The project features a development of a longstanding aspect of his live work since 2005, the bespoke "video-synthesiser" that generates imagery according to control data and audio input. Custom designed himself, the imagery for each piece has two components, one represented on a large LED screen and the other on a screen mounted on a helmet worn by Squarepusher. The formats for Ufabulum are as special as the show. Presented as a Limited Edition Deluxe Vinyl release, the 2xLP comes boxed and decorated in glow-in-the-dark ink and individually sleeved with a 12 page 12" booklet, album download card and three track CD EP, Enstrobia.
Top Customer Reviews
I would have preferred to stay away from regurgitating Jenkinson's vast discography, especially since I consider him an artist prominent enough for you to know, but in this case the storyline is important to revisit, to traverse his ample sonic arc. At the peak of this curve, we find Squarepusher tweaking the knobs of destructive DSP boxes and slicing up drum loops into a dizzying typhoon of collapsing beats, to what back then, as a precursor to breakcore, felt to be the most mind-warping, accelerated music I have ever heard. With an added sprinkle of AFX-like banter, as is the case with one of my all-time favorite EPs, "My Red Hot Car" (2001), Squarepusher was unstoppable and without a doubt at the top of his game.
Around 2004, for his "Ultravisor" release, Jenkinson began experimenting with live sound, layering many juxtaposed pieces with Spanish guitar and his very special fretted bass. The music began approaching future jazz territory, until in 2008, "Just A Souvenir" found Squarepusher's sound all but unrecognizable among the leftfield, fusion, and art-rock riffs. For the latter, Jenkinson walked away from the computer monitor and performed all live takes, recording the instrumentals for entire tracks all the way through. The 2010 follow-up, in which Squarepusher introduced Shobaleader One`s "d'Demonstrator", left many fans confused, at times scratching their heads at the brand new chapter that Jenkinson began to write with his electro retro funk. Many walked away disheartened, leaving the album in a pile of flustered shameful dust.
I managed to stay focused, following Jenkison's development as a musician, always challenged with self-reinvention. Throughout these incredibly unique albums, I navigated every unanticipated turn with mild fascination, marvel and awe, until all of my feelings matured into a total appreciation of his sound. Yes, after admittedly numerous listens, I fell in love with the progression of Squarepusher, eventually doubting, like many others, that he would ever relapse to his [now old-skool] electronic ways. But with the release of his fifteenth studio album, my patience finally paid off!
On "Ufabulum" Jenkins performs an acrobatic somersault, returning to his roots, while managing to fuse all of the taken detours together. The drills and breaks are back; the analog bass and digital effects are back, the synths and acid lines are back; even the titles of the tracks, like "303 Scopem Hard" all but flashback to the `original' Squarepusher! Although the world's fascination with dubstep does not appear to have deeply penetrated Squarepusher's sound, the 16-bit arcade style lo-fi bleeps and plops comfortably settle beneath his yesteryear cutting edge sound.
Jenkins maintains his tongue-in-cheek trance stabs and dark humor IDM just above the surface of serious commitment to intelligent programming and visionary sound design. The seemingly toy-like melodies on "Unreal Square" get drowned in simplistic drum machine patterns and dehydrating saw-tooth bass, until that almost-familiar lead line draws a parallel between two worlds, builds in a snare roll and ruptures into a cut-up post-break drum'n'bass, connecting one Squarepusher to the other. It's Squarepusher remixing Squarepusher, if you will, combining all of the invented elements of the past, with not yet discovered production of the future.
For starters, I am and have been a huge fan of Squarepusher for a little under a decade. I'm not going to make a mindless blanket statement about how all of Tom's work blows my mind; I could do without "Music is Rotted One Note" and a lion's share of "Selection Sixteen". With that said, every album Square releases is exceptionally different from all of his other albums. He has the uncanny ability to draw from/combine/concentrate on so many genres of music. Each time I catch wind of a new SP album, I truthfully have no idea what the f*** to expect.
Ufabulum is an exceptional album, front to cover. It houses 10 solid tracks that all have a common sound palate, without recycling the same exact synths and samples. Each song (with the exception of the airy track "Red In Blue") is exceptionally versatile and smoothly transitions through a number of different electronic music genres, with a Squarepusher twist... obviously. The most prominently featured styles include: ambient, down-tempo, and drum+bass. A nice portion of the synths have this fuzzy tone that gives me this warm feeling like I've had one glass of wine too many. Unfbulum includes (as expected) some really neat MIDI-bass work and the percussive layer(s) have obviously been sequenced by a master. I recommend this album to all Squarepusher fans as this has already become one of my favorite works in his portfolio. I also recommend this album to any fan of electronic music. Skrillex is fine and all; but shouldn't be treated as a best-in-class artist.