The new Be Up a Hello LP is a late-career peak for Tom Jenkinson.
The new Be Up a Hello LP is a late-career peak for Tom Jenkinson. Donald Milne

Squarepusher, "Terminal Slam" (Warp)

Squarepusher (English producer/bassist Tom Jenkinson) had one of the greatest runs of releases in the IDM realm from the mid '90s to the early '00s. Albums such as Feed Me Weird Things, Hard Normal Daddy, Big Loada, Music Is Rotted One Note, and Go Plastic established him as the virtuoso court jester of drum & bass with a serious jazz-fusion streak that stressed the highest achievements of that maligned genre. Electronic music has had no finer Jaco Pastorius disciple.

Squarepusher's first new album in a half decade, Be Up a Hello, is something of a return to peak form after several years of occasionally interesting tangents and a couple of uninspired full-lengths. The dominant sound once again is a mercurial rhythmic trickery, zonked video-game melodies, and discombobulating sound FX, as Jenkinson figuratively flings you into a funhouse-mirrored rubber room and supplies you with laughing-gas. If that's not a ride you wish to take, well, what happened to your sense of adventure?

After the aptly titled "Speedcrank," the equally well-named "Terminal Slam" might be the epitome of this aesthetic. If you've ever wondered what it feels like to be on the highest-grade meth while a guru of drum programming slices, dices, shreds, and splatters "Amen" breaks, just listen to "Terminal Slam." It's possibly NSFW, in that you will be too exhausted to do any afterward.

Squarepusher performs April 22 at Neumos.