Critic's Choice

Drum and bass was supposed to make the world safe for electronic music, replacing the predictability of "techno" with an expansive arsenal of shifting polyrythms. But when it digressed into another predictable set of formulaic thumps, the term Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) was coined to describe the work of a few like-minded pioneers such as Aphex Twin and Autechre. Enter Squarepusher (aka Tom Jenkins), arguably the most frenetic of this school, who does to drum and bass what Miles Davis did to jazz in 1970. Jenkins is a bass wizard on par with Jaco Pastorious, and even his most warped music is marked by a melodic sensibility. With mind-scorching speed, Squarepusher's music requires the evolution of perception brought on by our hyperactive society. But like Ritalin to an ADD sufferer, his music can soothe, feeding your ravenous head instead of putting it into a stupefied trance. Squarepusher will appear with Plaid -- whose live set is redefining the way electronic acts take to the stage -- on August 14 at the Bluebird Theater. | originally published: August 9, 2001



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