Mike Atkinson

Fuck Buttons – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Wednesday September 11

Posted in gigs, Nottingham Post, Rescue Rooms by Mike A on October 26, 2013

Originally published in the Nottingham Post.

For an experimental act with an unprintable name, Fuck Buttons have made remarkable progress. Last summer, two of their tracks were selected to soundtrack Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremony. A year later, they headlined the Park Stage at Glastonbury – going head-to-head with the Rolling Stones – and their third album, Slow Focus, recently entered the lower reaches of the Top Forty.

Following the eerie, doomy, abstract electronica of The Haxan Cloak, whose set climaxed with brain-scrambling waves of ear-splitting noise, Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power took up their positions, facing each other over of a vast array of kit, and launched into Brainfreeze, their forthcoming single.

Live silhouetted images of the duo were superimposed onto computer-generated graphics behind them, offering a hypnotic visual accompaniment to the equally immersive soundtrack. Each epic track bled into the next, the transitions marked by shifts in the graphic themes.

Combining dance-derived dynamics with grinding noise/drone squalls, the music often teetered on the brink of euphoria, without ever fully surrendering to it. A fidgety, pummelling Tarot Sport got sections of the crowd moving, as did a soaring, comparatively melodic Olympians and an almost funky The Red Wing.

A small drum kit was briefly pressed into service at the start of Colours Move, the sole surviving track from the first album, Street Horrrsing. And although there were no vocal lines as such, indistinct shouts and yelps were blended into the mix; at one point, the pair looked as if they were yelling at each other over a bad phone connection, trading indecipherable private messages.

The set list was mostly unchanged from Glastonbury, except for the final track of the main set: Hidden Xs, which also closes the current album. A descending melodic chime played over and over, while synapse-frazzling whirrings, buzzings and blastings rained down upon us. Tinnitus was never so magnificently induced.

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