A brief and incomplete history of sonic terrorism
Image "Pendrecki notation" via WFMU
2003, Boy In Da Corner, Dizzee Rascal:
Dizzee Rascal burst onto the scene as a rambunctious 16-year-old, with the angular single “I Luv U.” Characterized by cold synth stabs laid over the rumbling of a motorway and a so-heavy-it’s-distorted bassline, the song is characteristic of Boy In Da Corner’s overall feel. As if the music weren’t unfriendly enough, Dizzee sports a heavily-accented flow, rapping in a frantic series of yelps about a girl who claims he knocked her up. The music is sharp and threatening, and tracks like “Wot U On” and “Round We Go” are imbued with a paranoia that is transmitted to the listener. Shockingly original—particularly to U.S. audiences—the album comes off like American hip-hop’s distant alien relative, cold and laser-ridden. Boy In Da Corner exists in an icy, isolated landscape, occupied by sparse beats and an angry young man.
2009, Tarot Sport, Fuck Buttons:
Encompassing drone, electronic, and noise music, Fuck Buttons second album can easily be described as joyous. Tarot Sport invites the usage of words like “cosmic,” “mystical,” and “epic”—stoned words to be sure, but then, the music has a hypnotic, enveloping effect. Opener “Surf Solar” begins with a glittery electronic tone array, slowly layering that with buzzsaw drones and surefooted bass hits, and then Fuck Buttons just let the song expand. Like most of their songs, “Surf Solar” sounds as though it could be played forever, spiraling upward and outward into deep space. Their songs feed into one another slowly, building downwards and then back up again to create a continual sonic landscape. The unifying trait of a Fuck Buttons song is that feeling of all available audio space being filled, sounds slowly gathering themselves into a solid wall, a flying missile, a battering ram of noise.