Close to the end of July 2013, east London-based electronica duo Fuck Buttons (Ben Power and Andrew Hung) released their third album, the eagerly anticipated Slow Focus. The record is a stunning work that, through its well-crafted mix of clanking drum loops, sizzling synths, and glinting atmospherics, won critical adoration and provided the duo with their first top 40 release. Across the seven tracks, Power and Hung conjure up a miasmic soundworld that trickles with foreboding. It's an LP with a strong aesthetic that's tied together by the album's artwork.
Shot by Dazed contributor Alex de Mora, the ethereal photographs of jewellery and otherworldly items – a shimmering cube, for example – that comprise the album and singles artwork are a perfect visual representation of the music. "The record grabbed me as being much heavier and darker than the previous two, so it's something we tried to reflect in the artwork," de Mora explained to Dazed. "The objects we shot were things that Ben from the band had collected. They were intended as abstract artifacts. The idea was to create something that looked both dark and glamorous."
If sinister glitz is what de Mora and the Buttons were aiming for, they've achieved it. The items appear bold and mysterious, and, like the music they accompany, seem to rest on interesting thematic tensions; they are beautiful yet ominous, stark yet opaque. Yesterday, at Hackney's Wayward Gallery, under the title The Art of Slow Focus, de Mora and Fuck Buttons exhibited the Slow Focus artwork (including a new photograph) alongside the actual jewellery and some additional, previously unseen shots of the band at Glastonbury.
Fuck Buttons play live at London Kentish Town Forum on Friday February 7