The challenge for electronic artists in a live setting is often a visual one -- a producer sitting at a laptop and occasionally pressing a button often doesn't make for a riveting spectacle for music fans to latch onto. But for Squarepusher -- a.k.a. Tom Jenkinson -- this is not a problem. The U.K. artist has invented both audio and video gear that make his live performances stand out.
Squarepusher had not played live in New York in eight years before a gig earlier this year, and now he's announced he'll be back on November 1 at New York's own Terminal 5 as part of a fall tour supporting his latest record Ufabulum. To give you an idea of what his music looks like (yes, I chose that verb deliberately), this video of his song "Dark Steering" showcases the amazing audio/video rig he's constructed.
Squarepusher says that the idea of the piece is a "spacecraft leaving earth at vast speed to escape, but oddly the music also made me think of it flying through a library. So I generated the visual aspect such that, as the piece progresses, it seems as if the viewer is ever accelerating through massive corridors of books."
This so-called "video synthesizer" produces the patterns that you see on both the big screen and on the helmet that covers his head, making Squarepusher himself into something like a fractal, a smaller part that echoes the larger whole.
It's an innovative concept that fits beautifully with Squarepusher's ever-evolving music.
John Schaefer has hosted Soundcheck since the show’s inception in 2002. He has also hosted and produced WNYC’s radio series New Sounds since 1982 (“The No. 1 radio show for the Global Village” – Billboard) and the New Sounds Live concert series since 1986.