I’d rather listen to human nails being dragged down a blackboard on a loop than an entire album of Tom ‘Squarepusher’ Jenkinson’s slap bass improvisations, but guess which one Warp Records has decided to release? I’ll give you a clue. It’s not Nails Down the Blackboard: Volume One. Instead, Tom’s ‘excursions as a solo bass virtuoso’ are being immortalised on the forthcoming album, ‘Solo Electric Bass 1′*.
I’m a big fan of Squarepusher (Theme from Ernest Borgnine from his debut album Feed Me Weird Things is one of the finest songs ever written – check it out above) and I enjoy the bass guitar in its rightful place – i.e. as an accompaniment to other instruments. But on its own? No ta. According to the press blurb it contains some ‘technically astonishing compositions’, but the little I was able to subject my poor ears to sounded more like the incidental music from ‘Seinfeld’ played by the giant thumb of Mark King from Level 42. No matter how much of a bass whiz Tom is (and he is incredibly proficient), there’s no place on wax for what is essentially an extended version of the bit where the band leader introduces all the hepcats in the jazz ensemble and the bass player wanks off his fretboard for a minute or two while soaking up the applause. Nay, nay and thrice nay. It’s a ’strictly limited release’ – in more ways than one I’d say.
‘Solo Electric Bass 1′ is released by Warp Records on August 17th 2009.
* Most scary of all – the ‘1′ hints that this could be the start of a series…