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Fuck Buttons 

Street Horrrsing (ATP Recordings)

Wednesday, Apr 23 2008
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Technology is slowly conquering the human race. The march toward the inevitable, Skynet-level annihilation includes the subjugation of our art. Example A: Street Horrrsing, 50 minutes of post-human, batch-processed noise from experimental duo Fuck Buttons.

Stylistic reference points — Karlheinz Stockhausen, Experimental Audio Research, the second side of Bowie's Low, Swell Maps' "Adventuring Into Basketry" — create some sense of familiarity. But it's ever calculated; Fuck Buttons lure with their genre-filching and then gradually transform you into a fleshy automaton using infinite surges of programmed droning. "Race You to My Bedroom/Spirit Rise" is nine minutes of steel-wool distortion, vocals akin to staticky AM station surfing, with a robotic cynicism so affecting it overwhelms the song's subterranean synthesizer melodies.

Fuck Buttons upload warmer emotions into tracks like "Ribs Out," the junkstore percussion and tribal rhythms approximating Panda Bear and the Pop Group, and "Sweet Love for Planet Earth," with its electronic throbbing and slow asphyxiation of wind-chime tinkling by pure dissonance. But those are temporary distractions. Fuck Buttons understand that if something is organic, it's fragile and can ultimately be squashed. Street Horrrsing features moments of sonic rapture, but is too linear in form. Any tension is quickly deleted by repetition, as even the songs' ebullient climaxes feel predictable. Who knew the soundtrack to our machine-driven demise would sound so prosaic?

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Ryan Foley

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