Powell’s idea of Club Music is a bit more challenging than most people’s. “So We Went Electric” features some itchy buzzing sounds as well as what could easily be the sounds of hammers and objects breaking. The overall effect of things being smashed to pieces is a powerful metaphor for Powell’s entire approach to noise techno. Near the end some mumbly vocal clips (which may or may not be Mark E. Smith) and a bit of guitar enter the picture, turning the whole thing into a sort of wild deconstructionist take on punk rock.
The gristly, industrial-flecked feel of the first track continues onto “No U Turn”, albeit in a fashion that is more, well, throbbing and discernibly danceable. Here POWELL’s cacophony becomes almost sexy, drawing the listener in as much as repelling.
Standout track “Maniac” brings back the buzz, the frayed guitars and the punky vocal samples, but also introduces an absolutely stellar bass groove and some additional production from noise maverick Russell Haswell.
This EP is noisy and abrasive, but it’s also great fun. While much industrial and noise techno can come off as unnecessarily dour, there is old-school playfulness and a winking humor at work here which I find very refreshing. It has the dadaist flair and confrontational soul of classic European electro-terrorists like the KLF and NEGATIVLAND, but the dancefloor appeal that only a seasoned club DJ can bring to the table.
Club Music is available now from Diagonal