07 10

Powell Sport XL Recordings

Oscar Powell was up to his usual antics while promoting Sport. Having published Steve Albini’s grouchy response to a sample request on promotional billboards last year, Powell employed the same technique in the run up to the album release, publishing his email address and inviting fans to troll him and send footage of themselves smashing watermelons for a music video.

The album itself exudes a sneering smugness and charming sarcasm, with track titles like Fuck You, Oscar, Gone a Bit Bendy (NTS Chatroom Version) and Gettin’ Paid to Be Yourself’ [Al’s Kick Ass’ Mix]. Having signed to XL Recordings for this release, the album proves the latter to be true, as Powell never once compromises his jarring structures or his antagonistic humour. Rather, he takes his jovial punk attitude to beguiling new heights.

I won’t lie, on first listen I was left wondering what the fuck I’d just listened to. Sport is a hot mess of fizzing bass blustering around gnarly punk guitar samples, a hurricane of dissonance. Big Keith [‘Ok Ok’ mix] pulsates with an ugly sexiness like a Massive Attack track dragged backwards, Do You Rotate? entraps a heavy metal guitar riff with scrap yard electronics and Skype places a stoned rant from Chicago DJ Traxx above an anxious kick drum.

It’s pretty clear that Powell is slithering away from the humourlessness of so much underground electronic music. And in an industry common for stone-faced, throw-away producers, you have to love the guy’s audacity.