The loudest show I saw in 2012 was undoubtedly Blanck Mass at Public Assembly in Brooklyn. The venue was intimate, the PA was turned up to “melt face.” Blanck Mass is Benjamin John Power, one half of the UK-based electronic outfit Fuck Buttons. Power was back in New York last night, but this time with fellow Fuck Button Andrew Hung. The duo tore through most of their outstanding third album Slow Focus at a sold out Le Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village. Power and Hung stood behind opposite ends of a table filled with samplers, synths, and an array of electronic gadgets and opened their set with “Brainfreeze,” the epic 8-minute opener from Slow Focus.
“Red Wing” and “Hidden XS” were highlights of the set, although the venue’s usually tight mix was a bit off. However, no song translated better live during the 70-minute set than “Sentients.” While some of the duo’s live incarnations appeared to be not much more than letting the backing track play through their mixer, Fuck Button’s were much more engrossing when straying from the studio versions of their catalog and highlighting their toolbox of strange sound effects, live drumming and distorted vocal chanting. It may not have been the best show of the year, but it definitely shook the floors and melted a few faces of those in attendance.