Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus (2013)

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Electronic music as a whole is something I’ve found hard to embrace, although Squarepusher is one of those exceptions because there’s a jazz undercurrent in his type of circuit-bent music.

The Fuck Buttons are another exception, but for somewhat different reasons. They can get a little abrasive and experimental, but not too unhinged. The songs unfold and layer with rich textures, but not too abruptly. There’s a groove in all their songs, but it’s usually not the annoying, anonymous dance floor kind. In other words, they’ve found the right ingredients in the right proportions that make their stuff gripping, challenging and embraceable all at once.

At least, that’s how one could describe Slow Focus.

Only their second album since 2008’s debut long player Street Horrrsing, Slow Focus is poised for release by Bristol pair Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power, and the duo once again conjure up seven tracks of 4-10 minute creations.

The first three prove to be the best, including the advance single “The Red Wing,” a facile use of percussion that contribute to the harmonics of the song as much as the synthesizers and other electronics. The song evolves with rich icy washes erected, but the original groove never gives way. “Brainfreeze” is built on an insistent jungle throb, as the Buttons pile on and then peel away the synth layers. “Year Of The Dog” forces together a programmed circular figure, dissonant screeches and an angelic, choral mass.

“Sentiments” recall the new age ambiance of Jean Michael Jarre with a predatory beat attached to it. The last two ten minute tracks “Stalker” and “Hidden XS” both have an acidic, metal surface applied to them, progressing and unfolding with careful calibrated increments.

Deftly combining the beast with the beauty of electronic music is the Fuck Buttons’ stock in trade, and Hung and Power ply that trade well for Slow Focus.

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Slow Focus releases on July 23 on ATP Recordings. Visit the Fuck Buttons’ website for more info.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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