201 – Style Analysis (Squarepusher)

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Tonight’s project was something fun I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’ve been a fan of Squarepusher (aka Tom Jenkinson) for a number of years, and at first I couldn’t understand what he was doing or the components of his style. This is an attempt to identify style elements and emulate what he does. Listening to him as well as Miles Davis helped me to bridge the gap between jazz music and electronic music. I was also very inspired by the fact that he mainly writes his albums on his own and plays lots of instruments. Bonobo (Simon Green) is another artist like that who has inspired me.
I started by chopping up the famous “Amen Break” to make the drum track and automated some pitch shifts here and there to mess with the sound (a Squarepusher signature). If you click on “Amen Break”, you can learn more about it if you’ve never heard of it. I’ve linked a documentary that I discovered a while back. Anyways, I used the EXS24 in Logic and turned the drum loop into a sampler instrument. That gave me a MIDI region I could chop up. Then I added two software instruments, the EVP88 for the electric piano sound, and Tal Togu Bassline synth. I tried to get some mysterious/tense chords out of the EVP88 and added some TC Electronic M30 reverb to the track as well.
My favorite Squarepusher album is Hard Normal Daddy, but he has a lot of great albums and songs, including the albums Go Plastic, Ultravisitor, Budakhan Mindphone, and Music Is Rotted One Note. This track is inspired by the song Beep Street. Hope you enjoy!

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