More than a decade before dubstep’s wub-wub-wub caressed the neo-neon glow of modern ravers, Squarepusher (a.k.a. Tom Jenkinson) had perfected “the drop.” But that moment in Squarepusher’s electro-funk wasn’t a bowel-rumbling wobble: It was a blast of drums that sounded like it came from an AK-47. In the years since his early seminal albums, 1996’s Feed Me Weird Things and 1997’s Hard Normal Daddy, Squarepusher hasn’t relied solely on drill ’n’ bass tactics: He’s also experimented with busy jazz-fusion techniques and stripped down for 2009’s Solo Electric Bass. Live, the 38-year-old Englishman plays bass guitar to accompany all the digital trickery, mingling the sounds into a rare blend that sounds both organic and machine-generated. Squarepusher attracts more mature beard-scratchers than gyrating young people in fuzzy boots, but without his innovations, there would likely be no Skrillex—for better or worse.
Squarepusher performs at 8 p.m. at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $25. (202) 667-4490. blackcatdc.com.