Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 10 Dance & Electronic Albums



7. Fuck Buttons
Slow Focus
(ATP Recordings)

After previous studio collaborations with Mogwai's John Cummings and veteran British beatmaker Andrew Weatherall, for their third full-length studio album, Slow Focus, the Bristol-based electronic duo known as Fuck Buttons decided to go it alone, self-producing the album in its entirety at the band's Space Mountain studio. The result is perhaps their most abrasive and effortless album to date, mixing the caustic production and tribal grooves of their unpolished debut LP, Street Horrrsing, with the ethereal spaciousness and grandiose bombast of their 2009 sophomore effort (and 2012 Olympic Ceremony selected) Tarot Sports.

Taking their cues from the duo's early beginnings as minimalist noise experimenters, Slow Focus finds the IDM producers returning to their roots as over-indulgent art school protégés, creating a kraut-y mix of repetitive riffs and atonal melodies that both obscures and clouds their musical foreground, disorienting listeners as they try to make sense of the duo's hypnotic dreamscapes. Although not as instantly gratifying as other albums on this list Slow Focus is the kind of record that becomes clearer over repeat listens, as the group's claustrophobic cacophony of analog percussion and skittering synths gives way to panoramic vistas of calculated chaos. (Matthew Ritchie)