Thursday, 27 October 2011

A Very Warped History 12: 2004

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On a similarly Drum & Bass / Jazz note, here's another Warped entry. This time it's Ultravisitor, the last in the line of Squarepusher's frantic experimental stage that started with Go Plastic. Remember earlier this year where I said in my review of Bibio's Mind Bokeh that it was a bit all over the place in terms of sound? you ain't heard nothin' yet my friend, 'cos Ultravisitor is by far the least cohesive album I have ever heard. But it works, well yeah some of the tracks are pretty much full on abrasive noise, but it's all part of Squarepusher's grand send-off to the experimental style.



This album also has a bit of a gimmick where some of it was actually recorded live, and some of it just has crowd noises spliced in to make it seem live. I don't quite get the idea, but it sounds good so I'll let it slide. Anyway, onto the tracks: It starts innocently enough, with the titular track proving actually quite tame by Squarepusher standards. A far cry from what we'll hear later I assure you.



And to throw you completely off, Mr. Jenkinson throws a jazzy bass solo at you, just for kicks. It's a welcome return to the style that he explored on 1998's Music Is Rotted One Note and would again in 2009 with Solo Electric Bass 1



Again another Jazzy-esque bit that wouldn't be out of place on Music Is Rotted One Note, this one actually reminds me of the track My Sound from that record, and that is one of my all time favourites. This one goes down a treat.



One final guitar solo, not like anything he's done before, both on this album and previous this time. It's very nice in a not-Squarepusher way. It's the calm before the oncoming storm that should be coming riiiiight after this.

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Now. The time for Jazz is over. Those nice Guitar pieces you liked so much? They're gone. We're back in frantic Drum & Bass territory à la Go Plastic now. That doesn't stop it being brilliant though. My favourite bit is at 4:11, where the man himself starts spouting some distorted verses that work really well with the backing.



The Go Plastic-esque trend continues, a quiet intro filled with bleeps and boops leading to a cavalcade of sounds flying at you from all directions with spatterings of Bass Guitar later on. It's pretty much textbook Squarepusher for this era.



A return to the jazzy side of things, with a improv drum session leading nicely into familiar territory as heard on earlier tracks. A brief respite from the sound assault that came before it.



It's a similar story for this one, though just when you thought we were back in Jazz land in comes some actual Drum & Bass backing, this is pretty much the style the 'Pusher adopts for the next few albums after this, flowing electronics with a speedy Drum & Bass backing with splashes of Bass solos lathered over the top. It's probably my favourite of all his styles adopted throughout the years.

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As we come to the last few tracks of the album, we leave the experimental Drum & Bass behind for good. In it's place is the sequel to Tommib, an ambient number from Go Plastic. Like his mate Aphex Twin, 'Pusher is just as good at chilled out stuff as he is his usual repertoire. A well deserved break from all those breakbeats.



And wrapping the album up, one final guitar piece. No drums, no electronics, no speedy sampled breaks. Just Jenkison and his Guitar together for the last send-off. It's a fitting end, not just for the album but for his experimental work as a whole: it had it's patchy moments, but when it shined, it REALLY shined.



It's funny, this album isn't usually in my standard rotation because I always remember the ultra noise parts split with a few downtempo pieces, but looking through the tracks for ones to post I found it's pretty evenly balanced between the two. His experimental stuff isn't my favourite, that award goes to both the set of albums after this and his early works. Though saying that, it's aged a lot better than Go Plastic in terms of the more experimental stuff as in I find the stuff on here a lot easier to listen to. Next time we have a TON of Boards Of Canada stuff coming up, see you then.

Rearranged Into Plastic Membranes,
-Claude Van Foxbat