We are delighted to welcome the inimitable Oscar Powell to the fold. Over the last five years, Powell has asserted himself as one of the most distinctive and difficult artists operating in electronic music today. Diagonal, the label he started back in 2011 in London just celebrated its 5th birthday last year at Berghain, having released music by the likes of Autechre, Russell Haswell, DJ Stingray, and Karl O’Connor, and Powell’s own recordings, released via Diagonal, XL Recordings, Mute Records and more, have already become classics. Taking in acid, techno, computer music, punk, late 90s tech-step and everything in between, Powell music is absolutely its own thing — mad, unpredictable, provocative, but always carried by its own infectious sense of groove — and has rightly earned him critical acclaim across both underground and mainstream press. As Pitchfork wrote of debut album Sport which dropped on XL last October: Powell music thrills and mystifies in equal measure . . . and strips dance music of its sophisticated patina, returning some of the rough-and-tumble rush that Powell remembers from his teenage days —taking drugs and dancing to jungle.
Expanding his signature style, Sport features vocal guests Jonnine Standish (HTRK), Dale Cornish, Melvin Oliphant III and Loke Rahbek (Damien Dubrovnik, Lust For Youth) and is accompanied by videos for ‘Frankie’ by Diagonal’s now ubiquitous designer, Guy Featherstone, and ‘Jonny’, chock full of melon head smashing. The album was cheekily announced via email to a fan after billboards appeared around London encouraging fans to get in touch with him; this followed his previous billboard sharing a particularly virulent email from Steve Albini about electronic music upon requesting to license a sample from Big Black. But as Resident Advisor highlights in their review: ‘Sport’ is far more than an exercise in trolling or deft guerrilla marketing. This is what happens when Powell brings mind and body together in the context of the dance floor. The result is a staggering experience, even if it’s all in your head. At the end of the day, Powell is all about having fun, as evinced in in-depth interview with FACT.
His DJ and Live shows capture the same sense of energy and wild abandon. Part club set, part DIY performance, a Powell show will thrill and bewilder, but always keep feet movin’ and bodies drippin’. As Derek Walmsley, editor of The Wire, wrote: Powell traverses the same spectrum from brilliant to dumb, from super to stoopid as The Beastie Boys circa ‘Intergalactic’, and proposes the same kind of grand unifying theory of funk as Basement Jaxx circa ‘Red Alert’.
Powell invites anyone to traverse the same bonkers spectrum with him every month via his Melon Magic show on NTS Radio, where, in 2017, he will showcase his new approach to playing live by mashing up a wide range of obscure, twisted records with live synthesizers and off-the-cuff sampling in the studio. Listen to the latest episode and get yer freak on. NOW BOOKING LIVE / DJ: brandon [at] lb-agency.net