Filter Magazine's Culture Collide 2013 with F*ck Buttons + more
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Filter Magazine's Culture Collide 2013
Four years on since they dropped 2009's blistering Tarot Sport, Fuck Buttons' Benjamin John Power and Andrew Hung are back with their third LP Slow Focus.
When Hung and Power get together a unique chemistry emerges and nothing else is allowed to interfere. As Power puts it: "The one fundamental rule remains: we are in the same room when we write. The rest is all fair game." Fuck Buttons have never really stopped writing together in the time between albums. "The actual writing for Slow Focus began fairly soon after we stopped touring," says Hung, with Power adding "If we've had any time off, it's been a few months, so though both albums might seem like two isolated events to everyone else, it doesn't seem as much so to us. They're more like snapshots of an ever evolving mess."
Fuck Buttons latest opus is the first record they've produced themselves; it's an album that attempts insular resonance. Using repetition to create hypnotic and suggestive states, Slow Focus veers ever more wildly between these parameters; a whole mood-shift taking place to darker, more turbulent evocations – something suggested as much in the album's title.
"Slow Focus seemed like a very apt title when considering the sentiment of the music," explains Power, "It almost feels like the moment your eyes take to readjust when waking, and realising that you're in a very unusual and not a particularly welcoming place. There's a brooding and almost violent theme throughout." The album gained shape at the pair's own Space Mountain studio, a place that was once used as a dairy ("It's actually very isolated from the hustle and bustle of London. With the courtyard outside the front of it, it almost feels like you could be in rural France.") However, it's not their surroundings that guide them; rather their connection and imaginations that drive the unique sensory assault we've come to associate them with. "The music comes out of the relationship. We've always felt that our music doesn't have a particular sense of geographical location attached to it, they say. "We like to think that we create our own new landscapes, and with Slow Focus it's a very alien landscape."
As Tarot Sport showed an increased boldness from predecessor Street Horrrsing, Fuck Buttons' third is a confident stride forward again, signified in their decision to produce the record themselves. Quite apart from a duo whose music bristles with an often brazen menace, the production aspect of it was one of cautious learning and a humble desire to improve their skills. "The writing process revealed how production was intrinsic in that process but what we did lack was the knowledge of how to record and mix those productions properly" Hung admits. "This penultimate step - before mastering - was actually the step that took the longest time because we had to figure out how we could do it." But persevere they did, and Slow Focus' production fully recognises every textural change, from thunderous viscera to dark techno and slow oozing melancholia, allowing the dynamic nuances to achieve maximum impact. "To an extent, we've used producers as safety nets in the past and, whilst it is useful to have that filter," says Hung, "we've always had a very specific idea of what our music should sound like and so it became the logical step to take that we should do it ourselves."
Fuck Buttons were flung out into the perception of the global public in 2012 when Danny Boyle opted to use their music in his breath-taking Olympics Opening Ceremony in London, after a recommendation from techno veterans Underworld whom were working with Boyle at the time. Now they're ready to face the limelight in full again in 2013, with a string of festival dates, including headline slots on The Park Stage at Glastonbury and at Green Man, then later in the year - a full UK and European tour.
Fuck Buttons may have been away for a while, but Slow Focus looks set to put them right back where they were: as one of the most arresting electronic acts in the world today.
Kid Karate is vocalist/guitarist Kevin Breen and drummer Steven Gannon. Behind Breen’s thunderous riffing and howling, and Gannon’s primal drumming, the duo makes a particularly huge kind of rock and roll. Although Kid Karate’s plus sized rock is more than ready for stadium appearances, their music also conveys a gritty raw feel to it that should conjure up thoughts of a sweaty dance party in a packed dingy bar. Like a more focused Death From Above 1979, or a rougher and nosier LCD Soundsystem, Kid Karate emits far more noise than two boys ought to be able to.
From being featured on Topman’s suave Topman Generation blog to hosting their own indie club night in hometown Dublin, the duo, with their intoxicatingly friendly personalities, are certainly standouts in the creative world. Kid Karate are very much engrained in the fabric of the music scene in Dublin and have collaborated with members of two other rising star bands in the scene, Jason Boland (of Kodaline) and Dave Pendergast (of Overhead, The Albatross), who produced/engineered the recordings on this debut EP.
Breen and Gannon have been putting in work over the past few years building up a strong profile in Ireland. They've cut their teeth and mastered their craft through regular club shows and slots at many of Ireland's smaller local festivals, like Hard Working Class Heroes and Castlepalooza. All their work has paid off, as the last two summers have seen them selected for slots at the bigger national festivals (Body & Soul, Forbidden Fruit, and Electric Picnic) alongside international acts including Sigur Ros, The xx, The Cure, Crystal Castles, James Murphy, The Horrors, Django Django, and more.
In 2013, with performances at major showcase festivals such as SXSW, Camden Crawl, and The Great Escape, Kid Karate have officially made their way out onto the global stage. Their riotous performances at these industry-heavy events captured the interest of several key tastemakers and resulted in promising new partnerships for the band.
Kid Karate’s debut 'Lights Out EP' will be released in North America and Ireland on July 23rd, with tour dates in America in support of the release. And then, the debut EP is set to be released on September 23rd in UK/EU with tour dates in support of the release there.
Vadoinmessico are a psychedelic-pop band formed in London during 2007. The Group consists of Giorgio Poti, Salvador Garza, Stefan Miksch, Alessandro Marrosu and Aurelien Bernard. The band has a geographically varied sound, which reaches out even beyond the different origins of its members (France, Mexico, Austria and Italy).
Mujuice is a Moscow-based artist who is at the forefront of electronica in Russia. In his music, he skillfully combines the robotic glitches of modern electronic music with dense layers of natural sounds. Working without a formal musical education, he started experimenting with electronica when still a teenager and released his first LP, Superqueer, in 2004. His early works were sparsely arranged electronic compositions akin to European minimalist electronica (think Berlin avant-garde).
Even though his music relies on sampling methods, Mujuice refuses to be labelled as a strictly electronic producer, believing that contemporary artists should use all available resources. Blurring the lines between genres, he borrows elements from acoustic jazz and pseudo-symphonic music but he also uses clicks’n’cuts, microsampling and glitch tech. His 2007 full-length Cool Cool Death bursts with energy, blending dark swarms of melody with vocals and pounding drum samples.
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