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Review: Squarepusher - Damogen Furies

Squarepusher - Damogen Furies


Squarepusher does two things really well, he makes crazy fast melodies and he makes furious percussion spasms. The first part of his career he tended to do both of these things at the same time but with his later albums the beats started to take a backseat. They calmed down on Hello Everything, got thin and tinny as Squarepusher explored melodic pop with Just A Souvenir and Shobaleader One and were altogether absent on the solo electric bass excursion Solo Electric Bass 1.

This led to the usual wistful grumblings of people pining for the chaotic tumblings of earlier work but it would appear that none were more pissed off than the drums themselves. They tried to make themselves heard on Ufabulum but the melodies had become the brash chords of 90s trance, drowning out everything in sheer bombast. On Damogen Furies the drums go for the throat.

All the tracks on show here are a brutal one sided conflict between innocent hummable ditties and aggressive, splintered breaks. The percussive madness of 'Exjag Nives' gently sneaks up behind the tune, baseball bat hidden behind it's back before pummelling the shit out of it. Even less subtle is the weary melody of 'Baltang Arg' having it's head repeatedly smashed off a hard surface, probably cold, probably grey, almost certainly concrete.

School portrait day.

However this doesn't mean Damogen Furies is a punishing listen. Squarepushers's audio violence carries the same vicarious thrill that all fictional violence carries and is never anything less than a joy to behold. The only mis-step is 'Kontenjaz' that brushes a little too close to Skrillex brostep territory before flirting with cheesy hardhouse. Fortunately the mutation continues so by the end it's more akin to a robot trying to sing while it's legs are forced through a woodchipper, and all is forgiven.

The only time melody truly wins out is on opener 'Stor Eiglass', a gorgeous throwback to mid 90s drill n bass full of cascading synths and grumpy snare rushes. On the vinyl edition however the tracklist is reversed and 'Stor Eiglass' appears at the end like a triumphant airpunch as the drums chatter and swirl about, bloodspattered and happy that they've had their day once more.

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