by Eric Bensel
“Man is,” Hazlitt assures us, “an endless and infinitely varied repetition.”
Evidence perhaps of humanity’s creative impotence, repetition can also be seen – at least in art – as a technique to elicit a specific sensation. F.U.T.U.R.O.S.C.O.P.E, assiduous students of Krautrock, understands this perfectly. The French trio (drums/bass/trumpet) brandishes repetition like a weapon, lulling its audience into a trance state then tweaking that state by a few degrees north or south.
Over this April Fools’ weekend, graphic artists Arrache-toi un œil organize the Frisson Acidulé festival to celebrate 15 years of promoting punk / psychedelic / experimental rock concerts. Saturday’s lineup is diverse: straight-up hardcore (Rats Blood, Reproach), psych metal (Noyades), indie rock (In Zaire), noisy psychedelia (Terminal Cheesecake), and even parody performance art (X-Or).
But the freakiest flag to fly belongs to F.U.T.U.R.O.S.C.O.P.E.
The group performs a single song, the 30-minute “Utilisation Non Autorisée”. The song title (translation: “unauthorized use”) refers to the justification for legal action against the band undertaken by an amusement park of the same name. Encouragingly, the group is pure defiance, musically and legally.
For the first 20 minutes, a groove, and not a particularly enthralling one at that, kneads the listener’s consciousness into a flat mush. Even the least attentive listener cannot help but detect the minor digressions, the subtle deviations, the nearly imperceptible variations.
The group then shifts into a higher gear and coasts for a further five minutes. Again, when enveloped within a dull drone, the most timid of divergences stick out like cuss words in Braille. The final five minutes are then a high-speed cacophony, metronomic yet manic, that sprints to an abrupt end.
The performance is tantric sex set to music.
In the callused hands of F.U.T.U.R.O.S.C.O.P.E, repetition is defiance. Daring the spectator to remain engaged, disobeying legal orders to change, the trio is a thrill ride of uniformity. Repetition doesn’t get any more infinitely varied than this.