One of Powell’s most UK-sounding tracks to date gets a distinctly UK video as a night out on the provincial coast turns into an acidic trip through a land of pissed-up gnomes, Princesses eating kebabs and rabbits passionately kissing under pulsing rainbows.
The track itself, while sounding unmistakably like Powell [when does it not?], nods to UK Hardcore with its high tempo, rapid-fire breakbeats, wigglin’ acid line and punishing sub-bass stabs. ‘Wormhole’ was released on the now sold-out New Beta Vol. 1 mini-lp that dropped on Powell’s own Diagonal Records earlier this year. New Beta Vol. 2 follows this Friday 3rd November 2017, with more music to follow on XL in the new year.
Powell had this to say about the New Beta series: “I wanted a different approach to making music this year — a way to explore, to make stuff without knowing what the destination was gonna be, to go back to just making stuff consistently and putting it out without the fanfare that can come with doing an album proper. I liked the idea of keeping it to vinyl for now because that’s how it started for me and it felt like a nice situation to be making music for the people who support me the most rather than feeling like you’re making it for the internet.”
Powell loosens up and reaches out on the 2nd New Beta playground - a place to explore his more reflexive, emotive urges - with seven curious permutations that swerve from Æ-style abstraction to pointillist electro-acid and a brace of mutant diskotheek breakers. As with the first volume, he’s clearly still gassed off his new hardware, resulting in a nerve-jumping fizz and crack that sounds like he’s jamming with fingers directly in the jack ports, channelling his thoughts and feels practically unimpeded.
Like some cyborg antagonist who can’t stand to see humans plodding four square bro-si-bro in the dance, Powell fractures and gels the groove in wickedly freakish exercises, increasingly finding himself attracted to near beat-less structures to give his dancers and listeners freakier feels and more jelly limbed options for kinaesthetic interpretation.
On PosTAe he prangs out in sincere tribute to arch ‘borgs Autechre with a hot mess of haywire modular plongs, before Sneak 2_05 catches him cutting back to the ascetic funk of his earliest 12”s, this time sharper, serpentine, before Rudeboy, Let’s Funk catapults us into something like a scrap between clipped drum clatter and acid zig-zags itching for the sweat and perfume of the ‘floor.
Slippy Pig jabs the B-side into play with some of the EP’s nattiest, stepping impulses drawing a line from The Normal thru Ed Rush’s Wormhole via The Bocaccio, then Drumz VIP darts like some deviant jazz-funk oddity from West London, with its dissonant flourishes making way for the febrile blatz of Hoi!!and the EP’s surprise standout in the richly colourful and dynamic phrasing of Strobe, perhaps the smartest/goofiest iteration of Powell’s new sound in circulation.
The Live Show From British Electronic Musician Actress Is A Calculated Play On Perception - Huffington Post
Actress’ set easily proved the more substantive of the two (Nicholas Jaar). Though smaller scale, particularly in the cavernous Olympia, its infiltration into the North American dance circuit was a victory in and of itself - Passion of the Weiss
The Actress Live A/V show, launched late summer 2017, was the brainchild of Weirdcore and Actress. Conceptualised as a Live AI band with Actress serving as a conductor. The two AI band members perform stage left and right. The musical progression narrated by visuals created by Merchant + Sons with the Chrome Figure centre stage controlling the Korg Kronos X synthesiser. In the back ground, illuminated by an evolving backdrop of light, the shadowy figure Actress conducts the robotic band.
Powell and Wolfgang Tillmans performed as a debut act titled 'Powell x Wolfgang Tillmans' at 2017 Atonal Festival in Berlin's Kraftwerk venue. The duo performed music written and produced by both with lyrics performed by Wolfgang Tillmans. As Atonal functions first and foremost as an Audio Visual there was a AV element to the performance edited and created by Wolfgang Tillmans and performed live with the assistance of long time collaborator Michael Amstad.
Powell returns to fray with New Beta Vol. 1 - six upfront and disarmingly colourful tracks that harness a renewed energy following an intense period of production behind his densely packed debut album, Sport [XL, 2016]. Now thanks to a looser approach and influx of new ideas and machines, the results frame Powell at his most playfully experimental and nuanced, revealing new aspects of his mongrel sound not heard in previous releases.
Tooled up with some mad rare Oberheim v Dave Smith hardware and fuelled by a need to entertain himself as much as everyone else, New Beta Vol. 1 reminds of what made Powell's music so exciting in the first place - goofy, unhinged sounds sculpted into hard-to-resist and unpredictable arrangements - but now does so with in a brighter rush of clashing tones and splintering rhythms that reinforce his roots in DNB on par with his Wave, Rock and early Belgian techno influences whilst moving toward something comparable with a puckish take on AFX's mutant Analords or Actress discrete circuits.
New Beta Vol. 1 is effectively the sound of someone raised on all the raving music that post-2000 UK and the internet has to offer. But rather than any millenial emperor's new clothes, Powell weaves his references obliquely throughout the EP. Whether in the curdled gob of chromatic acid called Teddy that sets the EP's agenda, or in the clash of tart electro arpeggios and steppers' drums in Freezer and The Bust’soff-the-cuff electro beatdown, he persistently transcends his influences in a way that's key to all his work and always thrilling to hear - proving how to do reverential without being derivative.
Equally whilst his track titles and palette of razored sonic cues evoke strong context in the Virus-meets Din A Testbild styles of Wormhole and the stomach-knotting 97, or quite literally, if nothing else, in the title of Dogs On Acid, it's testament to Powell's vision that they still sound like him overall. And if any one track sums up the distance from and consistency with his early work, it's the rare beat-less outing of EP closer, Electric Sheep - whose visceral, strobing formation betrays a burnt out and unusually sentimental aspect of an artist best known for all-out hedonism.
Cocking a wink at the upfront sonification and syncretic mutations which made up late '80s Belgian New Beat in both name and form, New Beta Vol. 1 identifies Powell as a slightly more self-aware Johnny Bravo for dance music in 2017, serving to subvert the roid-rage trudge of EDM and the prosaic mundanity of grid-locked line-dance music with a daringly screwball, anachronistic approach to making dancers feel fucking strange in the rave.
Music produced and performed by Christian Olsson and David Axelsson Vocals and Lyrics by Christian Olsson
Engineered by Felix Rashman, Christian Olsson, David Axelsson, Hans Stenlund
Co-production by Hannes Netzell, Christoffer Berg, Lester Mendez, Blake 9 and Kennie Takahashi.
Additional music and vocals performed, written and recorded by and with Mapei, Vula Malinga, Ade Omotayo, Eska Mtungwazi, Sam White, Hannes Netzell, Christoffer Berg, Gustav Fagring, Daniel Adams-Ray, Nadia Nair, Zoe Durrante, Petter Winnberg, Tiggs Da Author, Nils Törnqvist, Albin Grahn, Shungudzo Kuyimba, Johan Jonasson, Mabel McVey and Alessandra Günthardt.
‘Fool For Love’ Contains sample of ‘She Should Have Just’ by The Electric Flag An American Music Band.
‘Take Your Time’ Contains sample from ‘Cyan’ by Kindness (Adam Bainbridge). Used by permission. All rights retained.
All tracks recorded at Sleeper Sound Studios, Ingrid Spegelteatern, Ingrid Studios and Studio Rösarne.
Mixed by Kennie Takahashi
Mastered by Chab for Chab Mastering
Published by Mr. Radar
P&C 2017 Kaptenchris AB, under exclusive license to Universal Music AB
Marking 2017 as the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, artistic Laboratory Metal - in partnership with Warp Records, Barbican Centre, and Boiler Room, plus Indian partners Wild City and What About Art? - will present Different Trains 1947.
Inspired by the work of Steve Reich, this new piece will feature music artists Actress (Ninja Tune), Jack Barnett (These New Puritans), Indian music producer Sandunes, plus filmmakers/artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, who will weave archive materials through their audiovisual performance to tell the story of this dynamic period in history.
Different Trains 1947 will be premiered in Liverpool as an open air concert at Metal, Edge Hill railway station - the oldest active passenger railway station in the world – on 28th September 2017.
The piece will then be presented at Barbican Hall London (1st October 2017) and Magnetic Fields Festival, within the grounds ofa 17th Century palace on the edge of the desert in Rajasthan in India (December 2017), creating a truly epic international showcase for this new commission, with Boiler Room streaming one of the events as a live global broadcast.
Different Trains 1947 is a core project of Arts Council England's Reimagine India fund, with additional support from Film Hub North West Central - proud to be a member of the BFI Film Audience Network, Northern Rail and Digital Partner British Council.
Wolfgang Tillman was invited by Tate Modern to co-curate, with NTS Radio, a vibrant music programme for Uniqlou Tate Lates in the Turbine Hall on Friday 28th April. Wolfgang Tillman and NTS invited Powell to play an exclusive live show. Other artists on the night include Debonair and Pussy Mothers (live).
Wolfgang Tilman used the opportunity to take on the Turbine Halls giant video wall, and will produce live edits of unseen video footage and still photography from the last 20 years through the course of the evenings performances. In preparation of this event Wolfgang Tillman has created a 4 minute sequence, cut to a brand new and unreleased Powell track called ‘Freezer.’ This sequence has been exclusively released via XL Recordings Video Channels ahead of the event.
The Powell track ‘Freezer’ will be released as part of a new project called ‘New Beta’ via XL recordings and Diagonal records.
The NTS Uniqlo Tate Lates event starts at 18:00 and finishes 22:30. Musical performances will take place in the Turbine Hall and the Terrace at Tate Modern with live video streaming via the NTS Facebook page.
For his new single Olsson teams up with the Rebels team again teasing the viewer with endless loops of lyrical bites from the songs lyrics.
DIRECTOR - DAN EMMERSON
PRODUCER - PETER ARBOINE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS - DENNA CARTAMKHOOB & TIM NASH
COMMISSIONER - THERESA ADEBIYI
HEAD OF MUSIC - HANNAH TURNBULL-WALTER
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY - ED HUBERT
FOCUS PULLER - GEORGE PHULL
HAIR & MU - EMA TILLER CORDY
STYLISTS - SOPHIE AMBER SMALL, CAITLIN CURRAN & MIA HOWE
MODELS - MIA HOWE, JIAHE ZHANG & LOUIS CHEN
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT - JACKSON PAYNE
RUNNER - SANTIAGO MORGAN
EDITOR - BEN CROOK @ SPEADE
COLOURIST - TIM SMITH @ ETC
The January 2017 issue of relentlessly bustling but always consistent Creative Review dedicated a whopping 9 pages to the artwork and creative manifesto of Diagonal Records. Under the direction of recording Artist Powell and Art Director and Designer Guy Featherstone and on-going vision of Artistic Director Jamie Williams and Label Head Jeremy Johnson the label have released over 30 records with 2017 set to be the busiest yet.
For Olsson's debut video 'Hold On' feat. Mapei we collaborated with Berlin Creative team 'A Nice Idea Everyday.' Shot across 4 different cameras the video builds a collage that shows Olsson and Mapei enjoying a lazy summer day in Berlin. .
The creative has a very 90's feel referencing videos from Sonic Youth to the Beastie Boys. Cameras used to achieve this aesthetic were a 16mm Bolex film camera from the 80’s, a DV camera from the early 2000’s an iPhone with the Vhs app and a toy camera from Japan. ANIED deliberately avoided high definition gear creating a certain roughness to match the songs production.
"From the start of this project I collecting images from my upbringing in the 90s, from raves, late parties and visuals with strong and bright colours from that era together with Madchester beats. Right from the first conversation with Vivien & Fabian, I felt we really connected on all this. Over the hotest weekend in Berlin, we created a beautiful piece of art together, filled with energy, movement and real people that really captures the true vibe and lyrics of the song. I could´t be more excited with the final result." Olsson
A unique collaboration commissioned and curated by Boiler Room and the London Contemporary Orchestra paired producer Darren Cunningham, aka Actress, with the LCO. This world-first performance at the Barbican debuted brand new material which has now formed a newly-released EP.