Be Up a Hello
Once upon a time, Squarepusher’s Tom Jenkinson was hailed as the master craftsman of drill ’n’ bass. You don’t hear that term so much anymore, but on Squarepusher’s first album since 2015’s Damogen Furies, he revives the style’s dizzying spirit: Be Up a Hello is a tour de force of high-velocity drum programming, punishing basslines, and frankly mind-bending sensory overload. Recorded largely in single takes on a hodgepodge of vintage gear, it’s also flat-out fun, with a dynamism in keeping with its spontaneity. “Oberlove” cheerfully pairs relentless breaks and bass riffs with almost melodramatic melodic flourishes; the unhinged “Speedcrank” shudders like a tilting pinball machine. It can be surprisingly pretty: “Hitsonu” taps into a naive grace seldom heard since Squarepusher’s early releases on Aphex Twin’s Rephlex label. As a counterbalance to all that untrammeled adrenaline, the ambient “Detroit People Mover” and “80 Ondula” give the British producer the chance to explore his most cinematic inclinations. And the glowering “Vortrack” moves into darkly atonal territory—proof that even looping back to the sound of his early work, Squarepusher keeps pushing forward.