Last Tuesday, 20 journalists of Pitchfork published a selection of the fifty best IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) albums of all times. Tom Jenkinson, also known as Squarepusher, appeared there with as much as two albums (on the 9th and 24th place). This brilliant fretless bass guitar player, electronic multi-instrumentalist, and innovator combines jazz and electronic dance music in compositions intertwined with virtuoso parts. The legendary Warp Records representative will show his art of music also at the 21st Pohoda.
Tom Jenkinson was introduced to music by his father, a jazz drummer. That is why the artists who most influenced his musical direction include people such as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and the important reggae and dub figure Augustus Pablo. Jenkinson started playing the organ at the local cathedral. He went through a guitar and bass guitar stage (at the age of 12, he started playing in thrash metal band) to settle down in electronic genres of house music, hardcore, acid, and techno at the beginning of 90s. From there, he switched over experimental drumʼnʼbass and jungle to a more peaceful electronic jazz fusion. In the mid-90s, he joined forces with the legendary publisher Warp Records to soon become one of their most significant names. So far, he has released with them 16 albums and a number of EPs, compilations, and remixes.
Shortly after his debut album Feed Me Weird Things, he released his most fundamental pieces: album Hard Normal Daddy and EP Big Loada. Squarepusherʼs “golden era” continued with album Music Is Rotted One Note. At the beginning of the new millennium, he was already playing at the biggest festivals in the US (Coachella) and in Asia (Fuji Rock). Michal Hvorecký wrote about his 2002 album Do You Know Squarepusher: “This audio chaos holds together by some kind of miracle, and even though it has the potential to cause a culture shock, it does have beneficial effects”. Squarepusherʼs retur to the acoustic-instrumental music album resulted in album Ultravisitor, concerts with the London Sinfonietta, and album Solo Electric Bass composed of bass guitar improvisations.
In 2009, he introduced another exceptional project—Shobaleader One—where he introduced himself as a singer, musician, and band leader. He returned back to the electronic music with the album Ufabulum. The intermediate step was short album Music for Robots. He cooperated with producer Kenjiro Matsuo and produced the music for a band composed of rather unconventional musicians - a 78-fingered guitarist, a 22-armed drummer, and a keyboard player that plays keys using laser. The process of his return to electronic music was completed in the 2015 album Damogen Furies. He described it with these words: “With this album, I wanted to explore to the greatest extent the hallucinative, scary, raw-internal capacity of electronic music”. Songs such as Kontenjaz and Baltang Arg are melodic, rhythmic, virtuous answer for all those who are opposed to electronic music. He built his own hardware and software for the needs of the album, which was designed to help fulfil his composition and performance goals.
Squarepusher has been pushing the boundaries of genres for more than two decades. At his concerts, he combines electronic transformations of sound with percussion, strings, and keyboards play. This makes his “one man show” concerts so attractive that he gains admirers even among people who are not lovers of electronic music.