Listening to Hello Everything is like eating a meal where the most delightful flavours dazzle and seduce your taste buds with every chew. But purely on the restaurants reputation alone you harbor a deep fear that at any moment you will eat something that will blow your head off. Perversely though, It's this fear that makes the whole experience so memorable and actually the fear is in vain as for the most part Squarepusher keeps his trademark noise explosions to a minimum on this, his tenth album.
Hellow Meow's busy beats and clicks start things off at an erratic yet gentle pace, they mean no harm and are soon joined by the crazy bass skills that make the work of the multi instrumental Tom Jenkinson so unique and so interesting. Feeling more affinity with experimental jazz than the electronic scene, Jenkinson has been pushing the boundaries of both since his 1996 debut Feed Me Weird Things. His use of live instruments, sampled noise and the most pent up beat-interplay make this one man band a force to be reckoned with. His work is as much Charlie Parker as it is Aphex Twin.
Hello Everything finds him in more comfortable shoes. A track like Theme From Sprite would not be too out of place on a particularly experimental, late night hour of Jazz FM and Circlewave 2 is a truly sublime piece of music with its delicate composition of tinkering cymbals and rising synths. There are glimpses of early Squarepusher muscle on the standout track Planetarium. The classic hollow breakbeats are given depth by the deep, brooding underlying bass line while the slightly Jean Michel Jarre organ builds things to a majestic grandeur.
Rotate Electrolyte has a beautifully nostalgic feel to it. It takes me back to the mid-90's when Drum & Bass meant something to me, days when artists like Photek and T Power constructed the most amazing journeys that were often dark yet rose to such uplifting heights. This feeling is continued in Welcome To Europe and show Jenkinson's focus on melody on this album. The breakbeats are regulated and uniform and provide a stable platform for the ever rising Dr Who-like synth orchestrations. Of course songs like these lull us in to a dream like state of bliss and then with Plotinus and The Modern Bass Guitar we are reminded that we're listening to a Squarepusher album. The teeth come out with these two tracks with the melody being all but obliterated by the machine gun breaks, bleeps, thumps, "sounds a bit like Goldie" clicks, stabs, twists, squeals and whatever else Jenkinson can get his hands on.
But to get through a Squarepusher record with only two kicks in the head isn't bad going and not at all disappointing. The album's title suggests that Jenkinson sees this album as a bit of a retrospective as it does in a way look back and compile much of the ground breaking work he has done in the past. It doesn't however sound like a cop-out move of an artist out of ideas, far from it. Hello Everything will undoubtedly recruit more fans to the Squarepusher rollercoaster but retains all of his visionary integrity to keep on board his old ones. It's a highly intelligent and honest piece of work by an artist quite obviously in love with making music.