Pasa Tem­pos Pow­ell’s Sport and Still­ness in Won­der­land by Lit­tle Simz

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS -

Lon­don elec­tronic pro­ducer Os­car Pow­ell aims to pro­voke. When he asked no­to­ri­ously cranky in­die­rock leg­end Steve Al­bini to use an Al­bini sam­ple for his 2015 song ti­tled “In­som­niac,” Al­bini granted per­mis­sion but added, “I de­test club cul­ture as deeply as I de­test any­thing on earth, so I am against what you’re into, and an en­emy of where you come from.” Pow­ell’s re­sponse was to use the quote on an East Lon­don bill­board. He’s ap­plied a sub­ver­sive, con­fronta­tional men­tal­ity to his Di­ag­o­nal Records la­bel — the last re­lease shipped with a bot­tle of hot sauce — and now his de­but LP opens with a 30-sec­ond blast of abra­sive noise. From there, he set­tles into a groove, chop­ping up beats and vo­cal sam­ples to pro­duce re­sults that sound like 1990s in­dus­trial or 1980s new wave. Frankie (feat. Frankie) rides along a rub­bery bass and a sam­ple that flips the phrases “en­counter cul­ture” and “counter cul­ture.” There are el­e­ments of rock, such as the two­chord gui­tar riff that pulls “Jonny” (feat. Jonny) through a briar patch of static and cool, mono­tone singing, or the curvy gui­tar lines and min­i­mal­ist pum­mel of “Do You Ro­tate?”(feat. Dale Cor­nish), which re­calls bands such as The Fall and Wire. In­deed, there’s a punk-rock aban­don to Pow­ell’s work as both a la­bel head and mu­si­cian that is hardly off-putting: It’s invit­ing and elec­tric. — Robert Ker

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