This year’s Ufabulum marked an important return to the IDM forefront for Squarepusher, the long-standing leftfield drum and bass project of musician Tom Wilkinson. In the Nineties, his brutal assault truly broke new ground for the sonic limits of breakneck bass (and the limitations of human beings to withstand them). Since then artists like Deadmau5 and Skrillex, influenced by – among other mutant strains of dance – dubstep’s sub-bass attack, created a way to turn all of electronic music’s most visceral elements and turn them up to ELEVEN. A half-decade of developments leave Wilkinson in a position to reconfirm his power to titillate; ‘Dark Steering’, Ufabulum’s lead single and his first new music in two years, hinted at the Deamau5 and Daft Punk-ian influence he debuted on 2010’s Shobaleader One: d’Demonstrator…right down to the LED helmet guise flaunted in its music video.
Wilkinson has kept the robotics in place for all of Ufabulum’s live shows. Above, in a preview of a new short film documenting the tour, he explains his recent ‘dream influenced’ art direction choices, including what drew him to the transhumanist look. ‘I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the idea of being a performer,’ he claims. The helmet offers him the security of concealment and the ability to ‘turn into something other than human – a canvas, a way to display images’.