Way back in 1917, an obscure musician credited as one of the fathers of electronica wrote that "the raw material of music is sound." Edgar Varese's statement was tossed off as musical heresy, right along with the theremin (also invented in 1917), one of the first instruments to operate on a turn-of-the-century quantum view of the universe. Today, few electronic artists have held on as tightly to Varese's vision as Squarepusher, a drum and bass, acid jazz, dub, funk, jungle, kitchen-sink hybrid who makes music not from this earth. His latest release, the deliciously creative, albeit head-spinning Ultravisitor, defines post-electronica as atmospheric slurs, beeps, bass and skips and proves that what happens when ones and zeroes meet is, ultimately, in the hands of the creator.
If the invention of the theremin makes 1917 the Big Bang of electronica, then let 2004 be the Industrial Revolution, a point in time when machine and artist have become one entity, a paradigm that Squarepusher has accepted as fate. On Ultravisitor, the sound is more lucid, a leap back from 2001's influential Go Plastic. Now strung out on string theory and Aphex Twin, Squarepusher wrote recently, "It therefore makes little sense to the user to do anything with the machine other than to try to utterly dominate it. "
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