This album started as a daydream about watching a crazy, beautiful rock band play an
At first, a giant fluorescent image of a coat hanger appeared at the back of the stage. A
couple of seconds later a full size replica of the Camden Falcon backroom materialised
around the glowing coat hanger. Upon the stage was a group composed of five musicians.
They seemed to be of differing ages, some young, some old. I noticed that the drummer was
an Eskimo. They played instruments either of their own design or conventional ones that
were modified such that they could be used to generate a range of sounds not typically
associated with a rock band. For instance, one of the musicians appeared to be using a
device attached to the body of his classical guitar that allowed him to accelerate or
decelerate time in his immediate vicinity. At a certain point he seemed to quickly
reverse back to a couple of months ago. My suspicions were corroborated by his hair and
beard temporarily looking rather shorter. Sonically, this had the effect of extruding
certain melodic phrases into shimmering monoliths and slow emotion wave fronts. Other
sounds being generated near to him on stage also got partially sucked into the time
sponge and were returned at high speed as imploded sonic pin cushions.
The coat hanger started glowing emerald green. At the same time, a river emerged on the
stage and appeared to be running under the drum kit. I was concerned for the safety of
the musicians being as it was that they were powering their other -worldly equipment with
electricity. Just as I began to venture a comment, the members of the band that weren't
kayaking were enveloped in a localised electrical storm. As the electricity arced around
various nodal points such as the drummer's left hand, the guitarist's teeth and a Venus
fly trap that was sitting just behind the bass amp, I noticed to my relief that they
weren't being incinerated by this high voltage extravaganza. No, but it did seem to have
the effect of generating a bass -distortion that sounded as if the bass guitar was
actually a RSJ being played with a chainsaw, enclosed in a ventilated cabinet of fine
mahogany. In fact, the high voltage was smash -mapping the bass line to a lightning wave
and then amplifying it millions of times over. The bassist was now using the entire
building as a speaker.
My vision at this stage was hence somewhat blurred, but I am sure I saw all of the drums
in the drummer's kit rapidly exchanging places with one another. The snare drum would
occasionally rocket to the ceiling and hover there for minutes at a time, oscillating at
rates factorially related to the tempo. Thus it started to act as a receiver for
electromagnetic radiation emitted by nearby neutron stars. The strange lonely songs of
astral bodies echoed about the room as their electromagnetic radiation was demodulated by
the UHF calf skin. Then it exploded, showering the band in pieces of plywood.
It was at this stage that my attention was switched to the electric guitar player.
Splinters of detonated snare drum were striking the strings of his guitar such that his
right hand was free to operate a cupboard full of granite spheres illuminated in a dull
orange. As he did, his person rapidly fragmented into various historical stages of
mankind. For example, there was a Cro-Magnon man and a Homo Erectus playing Monopoly. The
Cro-Magnon appeared to be winning. Suddenly the Cro-Magnon was in a headlock. Suddenly
everyone in the room was incredibly happy. Riffs of medieval joy bloomed about the small
man as he struggled to fight back tears of elation. They were happy because they were
real. They were smoking because they were real. The coat hanger winked out, they thanked
me and left forthwith leaving no trace save a small dent where a pantechnicon lorry had
smashed through the back wall of the stage to deliver a replacement snare drum.
What to do after an experience of that order? As the room around me regained its familiar
shape, I was left with an urgent sense of responsibility that I do honour to this vision
of a remarkable ensemble. My memory of it was the only souvenir, and I feared its
vulnerability with only a skull to protect it. I ventured forth to the studio shortly
after the New Year. I emerged on July 15th. This is the result. I hope you enjoy it. ?
A note on Squarepusher:
Squarepusher continues to excite and evolve with his 11th album, ?Just a Souvenir?. A
career that has spanned over a decade and seen him accumulate a large and devout fan
base, Squarepusher is also a musician that elicits praise and respect from the most
illustrious quarters. Fans include - The Neptunes who nominated his album ?Do You Know
Squarepusher? for the Shortlist prize in 2002 (US equivalent of the Mercury Prize); Thom
Yorke, who has publicly lauded him for his innovation and continued boundary pushing
musical explorations; Andre 3000, who has publicly asked for a collaboration; Flea from
the Chili Peppers claiming he is the ?best bass player on earth!?; Sofia Coppolla, who
has repeatedly used Squarepusher?s work in her films and Mike Patton, who has booked him
to headline his ATP curated weekend in December. Bootsy Collins and Brian Eno have also
recently got in touch?
Considered a contemporary composer, two pieces of Squarepusher?s work were arranged by
the London Sinfonietta for the ?Warp Works and Twentieth Century Masters? tour in 2003
and the follow up tour in 2004, and in the latter case, Squarepusher also performed with
them. The last album ?Hello Everything? saw him perform on BBC2?s Culture Show and for
the BBC Electric Proms, alongside the Raconteurs.