Review : Buke and Gase - Function Falls
PitchforkIt makes perfect sense that Hudson, NY's Buke and Gase chose Wired to host a stream of their new EP, Function Falls, even though as gase-ist Aron Sanchez explained to the tech magazine, "Nothing [on it] was created in the computer." I visited the band's studio in the Red Hook neighborhood last spring, and it was the closest I'd come to a physics lab since leaving school; a basement full of what Sanchez termed "cannibalized" instruments, shedding or absorbing new components on their path to becoming something else entirely. As Joshua Love explained in his review of their debut full-length, 2010's Riposte (made under a different spelling of their name), their inventing new instruments arose from necessity; finding one that would accommodate Arone Dyer's carpal tunnel syndrome, and making two people sound like a full band. Buke and Gase solved musical problems using Sanchez' background in making mad instruments for the Blue Man Group and Dyer's experience building bikes. With such a bold self-sufficient streak, it's not surprising to know that their last single, May's "Hiccup", was released in "sympathy" with the Occupy movement.
Solution found, on this new EP (there's a full-length to follow early next year), Sanchez and Dyer set about executing control experiments, working within limitations that unexpectedly prove both fruitful and poignant for a band whose previous raison d'être had been making maximalism from within minimalist confines. Function Falls came about when Radiolab asked the band to cover New Order's "Blue Monday" for a compilation, which led Sanchez and Dyer into trying to write a song a day for a week. Their cover of the dance staple sounds as though it predates the original-- made in the bracing, clanking austerity of the industrial age rather than the burgeoning glamor of the early 1980s-- and the classic's insistent synthesizer line proves the perfect mettle for Sanchez's gase (a guitar strung with bass strings). Those steady, tugged bass parts underpin the other three songs here, a far cry from the bungeeing bottom-end bounce that defined Riposte and 2008's mini album, +/-. Instead, Function Falls stands on the lip of the bridge, deciding whether to jump.
Where Buke and Gase's early releases were bristling and joyous-- doesn't "[waking] up in a bundle of orgasm" sound like fun?-- it's much harder to parse the emotion here. The band have described how the words to the opening song, "Misshaping Introduction", were improvised, "resulting in a slight lyrical disintegration," and true to form, the only part that's easy to pick out without a lyric sheet is "Don't clear the air/ Better to love first." The song's steady mechanical clank and the way Dyer sings in a downcast, quieter tone, all former yelps expunged, give the impression that the whole thing could go off at any second; it reminds me of the danger present in Annie Clark's work, particularly when she's playing dead in a visual. You stoop over, duped into concern, and bam!, she's got you by the throat....full text
ConsequenceofsoundThe freewheeling nature of Buke and Gase comes from the fact that just two people (Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez) are trying to make as much noise, do as much crazy shit, and have as much fun as possible with two homemade instruments and a barrage of pedals. Somehow, though, that wildness seems conspicuously absent on the opening two tracks of their new EP, Function Falls, a set which coincides with a fall tour sharing dates with the similarly spirited Deerhoof.
The tracks in question, “Misshaping Introduction” and “Fussrate”, feature the basic staging of Buke and Gase’s sound: synthesized melodies from Dyer’s buke (an electric baritone ukulele), and chugging, roughly-hewn bass lines played on Sanchez’s gase, a Frankenstein’s monster of a guitar/bass. On top of that ramshackle insanity, Dyer and Sanchez add pounding drums played with their feet. As such, they inherently utilize a kick-you-in-the-face simplicity. Yet here their melodies fall flat, and their typically rambunctious sound remains rather tame.
Buke and Gase had hoped to have the follow-up to their 2010 debut LP, Riposte, ready to go this month. Instead, they cranked out these four songs to satiate fans. Its relatively unsurprising, then, that it’s not their finest work. Luckily, it includes the tremendous “Tending the Talk”, a track that opens with a polymetric entanglement of melodic ideas grounded by powerful, distorted bass notes. Dyer’s vocal delivery is direct and expressive, and the song builds to a frenzied peak before reveling in an additional climax....full text
Brassland"It's not hard to imagine a crowd marching behind singer Arone Dyer, punching the air as she calls...with her mobilizing, bodily cry?'" -- Pitchfork, Best New Track review
The Function Falls EP is a four-song digital only release by Buke & Gase, a band whose cult following has grown since the release of their Riposte album in 2010. Three of the songs on this EP were recorded after the completion of their second full-length album, General Dome, which will be released in early 2013. Consider it a preview of the band's sonic evolution.
Where the full-length continues to explore the band's contrasting musical dynamic of chaos and control and their ever increasing songwriting chops, the tracks on Function Falls are about form in its purest sense, and are perhaps best understood as a study in contrasting textures.
The fourth track is a cover of "Blue Monday" by New Order, originally recorded for a special for the NPR program, Radiolab.
Buke & Gase say...
"Started as an experiment in writing processes. Having been inspired by the remaking of New Order's Blue Monday for an episode of Radiolab and the ultimate decision to push back the release date of the album we'd just finished, we went back to work on music with the goal of creating a song per day in one week. We came out a bit short, but ended up with three songs we liked in time to release them on an EP in September.
"'Misshaping Introduction' was the first of these battles, and came about through improvisation with the musical equipment and computer. The vocals are largely improvised, resulting in a slight lyrical disintegration. However, after enlightening the end of the song with actual lyrics, it thusly turned out to be more of a dessert dish, such as a warm olive oil cake, topped with shaved 80% dark chocolate, candied pignolas, and a light dusting of sea salt....full text
Buke and Gase Album Reviews
Sweetslyrics Top 20 Artists
Buke and Gase Lyrics
Do you enjoy music in languages that you can't speak?