Squarepusher, the stage name of electronic music composer Tom Jenkinson, made an awesome album in 1998 called Music is Rotted One Note.
The album’s songs, both technically complex and experimental (a hallmark of Squarepusher’s signature sound), are all composed by Tom Jenkinson. Jenkinson really is a one-man show on his recordings as he also plays all the instruments in Music is Rotted One Note.
“Chunks”, the first track, acts as a good (if safe) hook for the listener. Here Jenkinson’s talent as a bass player begins to show itself.
“Curve 1” approximates the sound I imagine the sound an alien invasion would make.
Heavy drum layering and a warped, drooping sound make “Ill Descent” another standout track.
What makes Music is Rotted One Note different from Squarepusher’s other albums is the emphasis on jazz bass virtuosity. While on other albums Squarepusher might try to bombard his listeners with drill and bass synth abstractions, he relies on recordings of real instruments to give Music is Rotted One Note a warmer feel.
“Rustic Raver” on Hard Normal Daddy [youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fAATsziKpE&index=3&list=PL3Xf7zy5jKIlvvKUQXEFac1lIC51dTX7k”]
A good half of the tracks on Music is Rotted One Note don’t follow musical conventions. Jenkinson stated in an interview
“There were also other principles at play at this time relating to harmonic content. One was that I was to abandon the overt usage of melody. This was because I had come to see it as a cheap way of getting people to like my music. It disgusted me that it was so easy to appeal to people and I thus introduced arbitrary rules to make it harder.”
“Ruin” and “Shin Triad”, for instance, aren’t easy songs to listen to. They don’t establish a melody or proceed along a straight, familiar path. Jenkinson just experiments with sound and comes up with these crazy abominations that have never been attempted before by anyone else.
“Ruin” sounds like someone’s mind melting, but interpreted and transcoded into an aural scene. [youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLZVdhnsDtI”]
“Shin Triad” seems like a rock song with no lyrics, no mastering and all overdrive-but Jenkinson’s original intended meaning for the song may be totally different. [youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G66o_ddSUj0″]
It’s all open to interpretation.
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By Nicholas Randall