It was a long drive to the Regent Theater located in Downtown Los Angeles, mostly due to the post Rush Hour mess on the I-10, partially due to the Localchella shows/ fever taking over the city. I’ve been a fan of Squarepusher’s work for almost a decade. I still vividly remember hearing the mixture of synth pads and stripped down amen breaks in his Port Rhombus EP, one of his first works for Warp Records, and getting my mind blown as an 11 year old who thought electronic music meant the stuff playing in the background when I was playing Street Fighter at the arcade. Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers calls Jenkinson aka Squarepusher “the best damn bass player in the planet” and that could not be closer to the truth.
As I stepped into the crowd at the Regent, my decade long anticipation went away swiftly, leaving much needed room for the awe. With a fencing mask on his face and two screens of glitched out visuals ready to go behind him, the first few chopped beats of one of his new cuts from his latest album Damogen Furies filled the room, as if he were reminding us where the mutated and commercialised bass sound that is taking over the United States actually came from, and how it really should sound. With the visuals behind him forming a narrative telling us the inherent bass and glitch weight of Jenkinson’s work, he showed no signs of slowing down as he made his way through several new and a few old cuts, with the screens behind him presenting us visuals of modules and waves being meticulously arranged and then melted into oblivion, a clear symbol for the constructed destruction of Squarepusher’s work.
Like his contemporaries Autechre or Aphex Twin, Jenkinson comes from the times where a lack of conventional order or structure in music was not something that was an easy way out for less experienced producers, but a right that true musicians gained when they achieved a certain level of virtuosity. Slinging from his latest single Stor Eiglass’s hard hitting beats and distorted lead synths to the chaotic sounds of his Arterial Fantasy, it became more and more obvious to me that Squarepusher was not relevant because Bass Music is relevant ,he is still relevant because of being just damn good. With all the visuals, lights and production value behind them, many of the younger producers come nowhere near the level of dominance Squarepusher has over his audience, let alone come anywhere near how immersive and raw his stage presence is, with his hands raised in the air and the bass weight behind him, reminding everyone from the streets of London to Los Angeles that it was him and his contemporaries that created this massive sound, and it is natural that they are best at it. By the time he whipped out his Bass Guitar and started playing the first few notes it was all clear to me. Squarepusher and all of his fellow noise makers are the reason why this particular sound became so huge, and they are the reason it should stay huge. So Come On My Selector, let’s meditate on bass weight.
Ravc Fire 2
D Frozen Aac
The Modern Bass Guitar