Squarepusher’s discography is definitely not an easy one. Even fans are challenged again and again by new releases - like his last full-length release Ufabulum, which took a more calculated and raw approach that stood in juxtaposition to his usual jazzy guitar compositions. These are records that don’t challenge you on a superficial level of enjoyment (e.g. “catchiness” and instant gratification), but rather on a level of comprehension, analysis and appreciation of experimentalism.
Jenkinson continues on the path of pure electronic music with this latest release. In contrast to Ufabulum (2012) and more in line with Hello Everything (2006) and Just A Souvenir (2008), Jazz elements are again a focus. This amalgam of raw (even dancable) beats and soaring Jazz synths like in the track ‘Kontenjaz’ is made possible by designing the system around live performance.
In Damogen Furies you can see the passion Jenkinson has for freedom, creation and innovation. A passion last glimpsed in his previous EP Music For Robots (2014), where machines perform tracks that would be impossible for a human to play.
The album as a whole is very well thought out, it works great as a whole listening experience - something I could not really say about Ufabulum. Very hard hitting tracks like the opening track ‘Stor Eiglass’ and ‘Rayc Fire 2’ are contrasted by weirdly nostalgic synth lines in ‘Exjag Nives’ and ‘Baltang Ort’. As is usual with Squarepusher, every track is extremely intricate and complex. The only other artist that works on such a level (and indeed surpasses it) is Autechre. It should take a lot more than one listen to fully “get” a track, but in the end, it is a very rewarding experience.
That said, Damogen Furies is not for everyone and this is the case for the whole Squarepusher discography. I wholeheartedly recommend the album to everybody, however. If you get a chance to listen to one track or maybe the whole album, do it. You may not find it appealing at the first listen, but it challenges you to think differently about music and what it means to express yourself by making it.