Sometimes, I think that we’ve put too much emphasis on sequenced virtuosity. I’m talking about a lot of electronic dance music — as great as it is, it’s a cumulative work, like a sculpture or painting, rather than something as spontaneous as playing an instrument. There are exceptions, of course, true geniuses who despite the nature of the artform manage to create music that’s wholly new, instead of perfectly tuned. The era of instrumental heroes — those people who could play their instrument beyond their little lead break on the single — seems to be drawing to a close.
Still, there’s people like Tom Jenkinson, aka Squarepusher, who seem to be easily adept in both realms. Playing all instruments — drums and bass, yes, keyboards, too — before editing, Jenkinson makes an album that sounds far more at home in the Jazz section than in the “electronica” division you’ll probably find it in. Squarepusher’s fretwork has to be heard to be believed, and his compositional skills at the tender age of 24 tell me the well’s hardly been tapped. Have a fresh drink and think of the future of music.