For the past week, we’ve seen a fun little story unfold, one that involves permanently grumpy noise-rock elder god Steve Albini and his feelings on dance music. Powell, a dance producer from the UK, sampled Albini’s voice in a track called “Insomniac” and emailed Albini to ask for permission. Albini okayed the sample, and he also responded with an eloquent bromide about how much he hates the current form of electronic dance music. After once again clearing it with Albini, Powell used the text of Albini’s email to advertise the song in a London billboard. And while many (including us at Stereogum) thought Powell was mocking Albini, Powell says that Albini was really a huge influence and that this was all done in tribute. Anyway, now we get to hear the song and see the video, which includes the whole email exchange.
You can honestly hear Albini’s influence in “Insomniac,” a sputtering and wriggling seven-minute track that never settles into an easy groove. This is harsh, grating electronic music — the type that Albini might actually like if he gave it a chance. And the video, from director Guy Featherstone, is literally just the emails between Powell and Albini flashing onscreen in white and sickly green, with a strobe effect that might make you sick even if you don’t have epilepsy. (If you do have epilepsy, just don’t watch it.) Check out the video below.
Powell’s “Insomniac” b/w “Should’ve Been A Drummer” single is out now on XL.