Infectious creativity: Squarepusher’s Feed Me Weird Things

A dazzling mix of inventive percussion samples and electric bass improvisation makes Squarepusher’s eclectic mix of drum and bass and electronica-infused jazz utterly beguiling. Listen to ‘The Squarepusher Theme’ or ‘The Swifty’ on the 1996 album ‘Feed Me Weird Things‘ and you get the idea.

There’s a relentless restlessness about it, particularly the opening of ‘The Swifty’ that feels like the music is always pushing to find its own stability, an endless quest for solidity in spite of the regular beat which is overshadowed and often relegated to such an extent you can almost forget it’s there.

There’s shades of the late, great Jaco Pastorious about the bass-playing when it enters at 2′ 27”, but that’s not a bad influence to display in your music. The bass meditates on the two chords shifting between a major seventh on C and extended minor chord on F, with a great melodic sense, before the percussion kicks in to turn up the rhythmic momentum and the bass follows suit.

The unstoppable energy about both the rhythm and the bass in ‘The Squarepusher Theme’ is infectious.

What a clarion call with which to open the door into your debut album!

The opening 1′ 18” lulls you with bouncing, repetitive electronic ostinati, and then – bam! – in comes the percussion, and you’re on for the ride in ‘Theme from Ernest Borgnine.’

Not to mention the nimble footwork (and fretwork) of  ‘Kodack,’ or the Stanley-Clarke-like  ‘Deep Fried Pizza.’


(Preview tracks via LastFM).


Does Cee Lo’s bass-player listen to Jaco ?

Cee Lo Green’s Forget You brought me up short the other day (the radio-friendly edit, that is): I couldn’t believe what I was hearing (in a good way).

You see, the track ticks along in a jolly, if not particularly riveting, manner, until the bridge section (2′ 46” in the video below); at this point, there’s a moment at which the bass-player, like a jailed convict suddenly noticing the door to the prison has momentarily been left ajar, forgets himself and makes a sudden dash for freedom with some astonishing decorative figures in a line that, hitherto, has just chugged along in an unassuming fashion.

Listen to the embellishments around 2’56” and then later at 3’05”; what on earth ? And, more importantly, why on earth hasn’t he done this at other points throughout the song ? It would have lifted it above the simply ‘not bad’ into the realms of ‘actually, there’s something really interesting going on here…’

Listen and see what you think: is he a secret jazz-bass player who briefly remembers his Jaco Pastorious ?

(The other, album- and radio-UNfriendly version of the song, is more entertaining; what a joy for backing-singers, to be able to pop up and sing with perfect diction and intonation ”ain’t that some sh*t!’ at 1’36”.’ Genius.) You can see that video here.

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