Do You Know Squarepusher? (Warp)

Oct 30, 2002 at 4:00 am
Squarepusher (a.k.a. British electronica maverick Tom Jenkinson) led off his last album with "My Red Hot Car," one of the catchiest and pop-hook-laden dance tunes of 2001. After that moment of clarity, however, said disc, Go Plastic, dissolved into a synapse-melting pile of 200-mph breakbeats and cut-up noise that, at its most coherent, sounded like a roomful of broken drum machines trying to have sex.

Do You Know Squarepusher? starts in much the same fashion -- the lead-off title track is an infectious slice of breakbeats, vocoders and dub bass, a not-so-distant cousin to "Car." Unlike Plastic, Do You Know is a bit more diverse -- and all the better for it. Clocking in at a tidy 32 minutes, the album moves deftly from drum & bass mayhem to ambient-noise-scapes and even tosses in a surprisingly accurate cover of Joy Division's classic "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Add the 63-minute bonus disc Alive in Japan (recorded in concert there last July), and Do You Know becomes an effective portrait of Jenkinson's range and talent. You still might not really know the schizophrenic Squarepusher by the end of it all, but with results this compelling, you'll hardly care.