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, has 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.
In 2018, XL digitally released two EPs by Powell, New Beta 1 and New Beta 2. Both EPs were previously released on Powell’s label Diagonal on vinyl only in super limited quantities.
The goal is to get these EPs and their story out there to make way for new music to come.
Gone are the Steve Albini samples, guitars, grimy industrial frequencies and lopsided drums, replaced by the taut snap of riddims pulled from the jungle and D&B of Powell’s formative years, ragged hardcore synth riffs, grotty acidic squelches and other shapes cribbed from the history of club music – all while still sounding unmistakably like Powell.
In November 2018, XL release an EP ‘Spoken By The Other’ a collaboration between Powell and Wolfgang Tillmans.
The duo have been working together since Tillmans directed the video for Powell’s track ‘Freezer’, and have performed live A/V shows together, notably at the 2017 editions of Berlin Atonal and Torino’s Club To Club Festival.