It’s the second night of Distortion and Blanck Mass, aka Benjamin John Power of Fuck Buttons, is playing Jazzhouse for his first ever Copenhagen solo show. And there’s no one here. On an ordinary night, this would already mean that everyone is missing out, but for a late show following hours of raucous street parties, this is the chillest way possible to round out the evening.
In the darkened room, half of the approximately 30 people who have assembled are sitting, staring up at Power, who is backlit by a projection screen. The next hour is an ebb and flow of ambient lulls and crests of beats. Without any beats, his songs have an Eno-esque softness. When paired with the freeform, shifting colors of the projections (except for the one that was a skull, that wasn’t so freeform), the mood is between serene and sedate.
When Power plays with Fuck Buttons, he has Andrew Hung to interact with, and that in itself changes the energy of the performance. Alone on the stage, he fares well enough, bopping behind his table and flitting from one piece of equipment to another. But we can’t even see his face, so there is an effect of disembodiment.
Granted, for his more beat-driven tracks, it makes less of a difference. The rhythms are scattered and compete with one another in a way that absorbs the movements into each other. On a different night with a different crowd, this could be a very hip party soundtrack.
But here, now, with the evening is drawing to close, a harsh buzz saw of static cuts through any comfort that had settled in the room. The jolt fades into more soft, enveloping synths, and finally rolls back into one of his multi-layered rhythms. The music cuts, the projection screen goes blank, and Power says an unamplified “thanks” to the crowd before walking off the stage.