Friday, 14 June 2013

Track Review: Fuck Buttons - The Red Wing (Edit)


For anyone who might be as compulsive or as obsessed with numbers as I am, you (the [un]fortunate ones) might look to the discography of electronic music duo Fuck Buttons - after the very name causes your eyes to widen and your thoughts to struggle in deviating from the typically dysphemistic of associations - and lock straight onto the fact that the Bristol-based duo have been fairly silent for nearly the past four years. To debut with what was less a ground-breaking, more an earth-shattering titan of drone-come-noise electronica in 2008's Street Horrrsing, was an achievement many fellow electronic musicians would gladly admit to envying. So 12 months down the line and with 2009's Tarot Sport, Buttons' sound was confirmed to be one of the freshest and enthralling sounds of end-of-the-decade electronic music. With that, the UK duo present us with a two-fold reveal to the first track taken from their new album, Slow Focus: first its name, The Red Wing...and second, the fact that this is actually an edit of a much longer composition. But considering Fuck Buttons' skill for composing larger-lengthened pieces, and succeeding as a result, the revelation is not entirely surprising in an extreme sense.

What is surprising, but interesting in its success, is the presence of beats conjuring from off the forefront of Buttons' music here. Guitars too are a lot more protruding in their slightly muddier swirl of fuzz and feedback alike. The sounds generated definitely throw back to the ideas conjured up on the duo's last record, but here - aided by the immediacy of beats and pitch-climbing twitches and glitching electronics - there's more the suggestion that the track has somewhat of a tender and self-contained progression to it. There are of course the elementary slabs of noise that flow carelessly back and forth in-between layers, but the harsher scorn of electronics, as the track moves into its closing parts, feels ever the more crucial and highlighting component to this song's condition. Because of it, there's that recognizeable volatile characteristic, and yet for how clear and concise the presence of beats and percussion is here, the intensity to the synthesizer parts, isn't as high risk or in the red as it might be inept to portray. And ultimately, while this might be addressed as possible indecision and notions for something more calmer and subdued, I can't help but feel the opposite is true here.



To reiterate, this is only a slice of what is a much larger, content-loaded pie to Fuck Buttons' dark voyage of noisy electronica and effect-driven opaqueness. It will be interesting to see how the full, unedited version of this track not only sounds, but interlinks into the overall feel and direction their new album takes. What has interested me however, is the presence here of a more melodic and instrumentally-engaging progression that not only fuels Buttons' track, but from my perspective feels evermore like it's acting to seek a means of internal engagement...perhaps retaliation too against the duo's own signature, noisy aesthetic. Could this then be an indication of a more offensive or wildly differentiating direction on an album-scale? Whatever the case may be, Fuck Buttons' more considered use of synthesizer and percussion - and its placement - definitely alludes to a more livelier and forward-moving potential. How they treat this change against their noisier textures will be an intriguing discovery to make. New album Slow Focus is out 22nd July in the UK and a day later in the US, via ATP Recordings.
~Jordan

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