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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Last Night: Fuck Buttons & Clipd Beaks at Great American Music Hall

Posted By on Thu, May 13, 2010 at 7:32 AM

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Fuck Buttons, Clipd Beaks
May 12, 2010
Great American Music Hall

Better than: Newcomers would expect "experimental," "minimalist," "10-plus minute," "noise/beat" music to be. Mostly.

Fuck Buttons, an experimental British noise/beat duo, often say they see pictures in their pulsing beats and bristling, buoyant melodies. Last night at Great American Music Hall, the band's Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power held true to form, eliciting beautiful imagery from their messy table of cheap keyboards and effects pedals. Yet for all its radiant textures and sublime minimalism, the set felt like a scratching toward some gorgeous sonic picture -- and not the realization of it.

At their best moments, Fuck Buttons' titanic rhythms threatened to shake the Earth off its axis. The crowd rode the band's undulating, abstract energy, their trancelike nods making the show feel like some arty hipster rave. Arms waved hippie-like, waists revolved in long, intoxicated ellipses, and musical zeniths drove the front section into a Dionysian pogoing.

Music from Fuck Buttons comes less in the typical form of songs than melodic structures built over a nearly constant, hammering beat that melds one work into another. Last night's "songs" often stretched into the double-digit time mark (and certainly felt like it). Watery, instrumental mumbles escalated slowly in thickness and pitch. Then the band's distorted climaxes would at last shoot in, with trumpeting melodies pushing songs into the searing, shimmering triumph of some ecstatic apocalypse.

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Ian S. Port

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