Shobaleader One’s Elektrac marks the rare occasion when a cover band is as good as the original, and the fact that they are covering their own material in a completely different genre makes for a very interesting experience all round.
The project is the brain child of Tom Jenkinson, better known as the hyperactive IDM artist Squarepusher. Elektrac is the second effort from the group, but it exists in great contrast to their debut, their latest effort being a live set of some of the greatest Squarepusher moments.
For a musician who's continually pushed the boundaries of formula in electronic music, this artful journey is not surprising. Electronic music is suffering from a saturation point where handheld devices and improvements in consumer recording software produce interesting compositions with a few swipes of inexperienced fingers. The point of Elektrac is to attempt to separate true art from copy, something Squarepusher is quite accustomed to doing as one of the true pioneers in the genre. Jenkinson has adapted his compositions into a live show under the umbrella of funk jazz fusion in a way that has an absolutely mind blowing effect.
It must also be said the mysterious trio of other members that make up Shobaleader One kill it on the live performance and subsequent record. Known only by Strobe Nazard, Company Laser and Arg Nution - and following in Daft Punk’s footsteps by performing behind futuristic masks - Shobaleader One is an assemblage of amazing musicians that make great work tackling down the fury and timing of Squarepusher.
Tom Jenkinson, as he is known to do in his Squarepusher guise, throws down a fast and furious bass and is rivalled by incredibly quick jazz drumming and accompaniment from guitar and synths. Some of his trademark glitchiness is gone, but it's replaced with masterfully skillful composition and delivery and, like a Squarepusher record, Elektrac does not simply fade in the background; rather it requires an active listener and results in total appreciation of the talent.