The Swifty
Coopers World
Don't Go Plastic
Iambic 5 Poetry
Squarepusher Theme
E8 Boogie
Deep Fried Pizza
Anstromm Feck 4
Journey To Reedham

Credits (9)


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    • IQ_Final
      Edited 6 years ago
      To each their own, but I never found Squarepusher's strictly-electronic music any good, mostly because I've struggled to discover any melody buried beneath the noise. And what with his flashy-light-show Ufabulum and dark, edgy Damogen Furies, I feel like I've fallen out with Mr. Jenkinson's music. Besides, Aphex Twin always did the twisted drill 'n' bass stuff better... though I will admit that Go Plastic had its moments and, to some degree, the early Buzz Caner record from his Chaos A.D. moniker. Having said that, a lot of fans listening to Squarepusher since the '90s couldn't stand his Shobaleader One record, d'Demonstrator. (Could the fact that Tom pulled in the reins and made this relaxed album for his girlfriend have anything to do with the sour taste in the collective mouth?) I, on the other hand, loved it. Groovy, melodic, and featuring (*gasp*) vocals, it's the fusion lounge music of the future; one record of his I've kept consistently returning to for the past several years. It saddened me to think he wasn't doing anything more with the Shobaleader group... until I came across their live rendition of "Cooper's World" on YT. And then discovering this album thereafter!

      This is an exciting return for the Square, BUT... this live album is not without its flaws either. First, the good: half of these tracks breathe new life into the old material, with the other band members more than up to the task of performing these musical monsters. From the opening reggae-like swing of "The Swifty" to the hyperactive "E8 Boogie" and especially the flat-out fun "Cooper's World," old-school 'Pusher fans will have a blast hearing these live renditions. On the other hand, the band members slip into self-indulgent wanking at times, too-- "Don't Go Plastic" and "Anstromm Feck 4" are examples. Also, the second half of the show feels rushed, notably on "Megazine," an otherwise groovy song ruined by off-timing. The drummer sounds uncomfortable with the tempo, just chugging through it. (Considering the group performed and recorded that song together already on the d'Demonstrator album, to hear them play it live like this is embarrassing.) Personal niggle: why pick "Delta-V" from Just a Souvenir out of all the songs on that record? Was that really the best song you could pick from the album to be played in a live setting?

      That's the bothersome part of this album: it's split between crowd-pleasers and band-pleasers. The former for our benefit, the latter for theirs. Yes, they are extremely gifted musicians, the whole lot of 'em, but they don't need to flex it. (When they do flex it, like the guitar player does on "Deep Fried Pizza," you roll your eyes and skip the rest.) In that regard, the setlist could've been handled better. Yet, the most exciting part listening to Elektrac for the first time is wondering how these songs will turn out... favorites of yours and mine never heard live before! Just to even consider the possibilities of songs this band could perform from here on out makes my ol' heart skip a beat! And that's enough for me to hope that Tom keeps on with the Shobaleader One group. It's not a perfect live record, but it's getting somewhere and I'll be the first to buy (here's hoping) Elektrac 2.

      Just can it with the look-at-me wankery next time, guys.

      Recommended tracks:
      "The Swifty" / "Cooper's World" / "Iambic 5 Poetry" / "Squarepusher Theme" / "E8 Boogie" / "Journey to Reedham"

      My setlist wishlist:
      "Sarcacid Part 1" / "A Real Woman" / "Male Pill Part 13" / "Panic Massive" / "On Fire Again"
      • michael.vultoo's avatar
        This is THE 2016/2017 album I've been waiting for. Skill, sound, engineering and discipline are the words that come to my mind when I play this record. Every member of this band has such an important role and they all take it very, very seriously with skill. It sounds like a straight A project with Tom as senior bandleader. All you guys passed the test. Now get on with your careers and blows us listeners away with your sonic capabilities.
        • thodi's avatar
          Edited 7 years ago
          Right off the bat the vinyl is well pressed and the sleeve is interestingly designed.
          The gatefold opens to a comic strip that shows the four band members being sent 'back' (to earth?) by a very weird looking creature. It is also mentioned that due to this they lose the 'Elektrac', which might be irreversible this time, and that the conditions had changed and that they needed to use instruments like 'Borbs' (Humans?) now.

          Anyway, let's get on with the review:

          Coopers world pulled me in right from the beginning. Much more funky and accessible than the 'squarepusher version'. I love both versions, but when I played this album to my friends who usually do not to listen to Squarepusher seemed to enjoy the jazzier songs on this album a lot.
          This "human" component might not be understandable for newcomers but you get the idea when comparing the songs to the originals - the sound is still extremely fast paced and gives off a feeling of being impossible to be performed by actual humans sometimes. This could be what the comic on the sleeve was referring to. After d'Demonstrator Shobaleader Ones return might have made them a little more "Borb" like.

          I am a little bit disappointed with the song selection on this album, there are some songs I'd wished to hear that would have perfectly fit to Shobaleader Ones distinctive funky/jazzy style.

          My biggest highlights on this album are: Coopers World, Megazine, e8 Boogie (mad skills) and Journey to Reedham (drums are beautiful!)

          All in all still a great compilation of songs that even non-Squarepusher people could easily enjoy. Squarepusher people will know what they are getting into, which makes the experience all the more enjoyable due to getting the stuff you love in a new very awesome package!

          It would also have been nice to know beforehand that this album was not truly a new album but a live album of some sorts.
          • suburbanrobot's avatar
            Edited 7 years ago
            When I pre-ordered this I thought it was a studio album, not a live recording. Would have been nice if this had been called out somewhere, not that it would have changed my purchase decision but still. As a live album, the instruments sound good but obviously not studio quality. The players are good enough where technical mistakes are either non-existent or at least not noticeable. The drumming especially is a treat; it takes a special talent to keep up with some of the old Squarepusher standards and Adam Betts (of Three Trapped Tigers, another fantastic band) is up to the task.

            The album has some faults. Halfway through the set, the album meanders into something of a loose jam session. It's fun to listen to these guys jam, but the lack of focus really causes the set to lose momentum before running into a few mediocre cuts from the last couple of albums (they would have been much better served to settle back into a few slow jams like Plug Me In or Endless Night rather than the lackluster Megazine and Delta-V). This is where my disappointment about this being a live album vs. studio comes in -- in the studio the editing would have helped to cut the fat and distill the album down into something consistently solid.

            Overall this is an enjoyable listen, especially if you are a longtime fan of Squarepusher and want to hear a fresh take on some old favorites. If you aren't a hardcore Squarepusher fan, you are probably better off watching videos of Coopers World and Iambic 5 on YouTube rather than investing in the full album.

            Side note on pressing quality: Everything is top notch. Records arrived clean and flat and play perfectly. Two thumbs up there.
            • donotseemecricket's avatar
              So does anyone know why this was split between two CDs? 65 minutes isn't over the standard CD timelimit, so why the choice to split them in two? Is it purely for aesthetic reasons? That aside I really am enjoying this release.

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