Produced by Powell
All music written and performed by Oscar Powell
Mixed by Tobin Jones
Recorded at the Powell Studio, London, February 2017
Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy.
P&C 2017 XL Recordings Ltd.
Published by Copyright Control
“What works reliably is to know the raw silk, hold the uncut wood. Need little. Want less. Forget the rules. Be untroubled.” Laurel Halo presents six instrumental pieces that form a meditative, cinematic listening experience. Inspired by recent film score work for Metahaven and Ursula Le Guin’s translation of the Tao Te Ching. Featuring cello work by Oliver Coates and percussion by Eli Keszler.
Working in abstraction leads to a deeper longing for touch and closeness. The tactile sensation of struck organ keys and bowed strings, wood and felt on drum heads. Smoke and dirt and stone. Febrile and tactile, hairy and hissy. Salty licorice, sour citrus. Optimistic skeptic. The slime of a frog left on the hands. Placid and ridden. A plurality of melancholy and happiness. The four leaf clover of highway on and off ramps, a continuous flow, like old leaves melting on their way down a stream at the back of a house. Constant contradiction, the truth’s always in the middle, nowhere.
Music by Laurel Halo
Cello: Oliver Coates (Raw Silk Uncut Wood, Nahbarkeit)
Percussion: Eli Keszler (Mercury, Nahbarkeit)
Front cover: Jill Mulleady, Prince S, 2017. Oil on canvas. 165 x 126cm.
Back cover: Studio Hugo Blanzat
Mastered at Dubplates & Mastering
Distributed by Honest Jon’s
PS/Y’s Hysteria commissioned an evening of moving image, sound and performance bringing together work exploring the physical effects of psychological experiences.
The event included the premiere of a new moving image commission by composer Visionist (Louis Carnell) & filmmaker Pedro Maia, presented with a live score, as well as work by artists Imran Perretta & Paul Purgas and Last Yearz Interesting Negro / Jamila Johnson-Small.
Hysteria is a combined arts programme that explores health and illness in contemporary society. It is curated by Mette Kjaergaard Praest for research and public engagement group, PS/Y. www.ps-y.org
Laurel Halo speaks with Subbacultcha magazine ahead of her live appearance at De School Amsterdam with Eli Keszler.
Actress is able to shake the scenes of the biggest festivals like those of the most underground clubs. At the helm of the label Werkdiscs, English reigns on British dance music with as much finesse and mystery as his compatriot Clark, who he succeeds this year on the stage of the ARTE Concert Festival.
Actress produces an experimental techno where the funk, the IDM, the hip-hop and the techno influences of Detroit, London and Chicago intertwine. A true melting pot of influences that ringsardise any notion of etiquette. The result of this subtle musical alchemy? Dj sets and live performances that keep hordes of clubbers on their toes.
Actress cherishes her independence and likes to cultivate an aura of mystery. The British producer made a big noise last year with the publication of the album "AZD", considered by many as his most successful effort.
When not on turntables, the British also finds time to manage the label Werkdiscs. In this house label, Actress hosts of course his own productions but also those of Helena Hauf, Moiré,
Concert captured on April 21, 2018 at Gaîté Lyrique, Paris.
Possessed veers between hard-edge documentary and dreamscape, to launch its complaint about the absorbing world of the smartphone. The millennial protagonist (Olivia Lonsdale) discovers a forgotten past among post-communist remains, and recounts childhood memories looking for new collectivism and empathy. Political theorists Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek provide analytical interruptions.
Music performed, recorded and produced by Laurel Halo.
Screenplay & Directors: Metahaven (Daniel van der Velden, Vinca Kruk) & Rob Schröder
Funds: The Netherlands Film Fund – The Mondriaan Fund – The Netherlands Film Production Incentive –Stichting Democratie en Media
Distribution: Cinema Delicatessen
Length: 67 min
In a visual tour de force for Visionist, Frederick Heyman stages a number of documentary scenes involving extreme peril, placing numerous versions of the experimental composer within each scene. The effect is mesmerising and very eery. Then he deconstructs the whole process, which makes it even eerier.
Heyman is best known for his use of photogrammetric techniques - using 3D scans to insert real-world subjects into staged digital scenes, manipulated by mechanically induced movement and timed text. The track Value (from the album of the same name) deals with the issue of self-struggle, and Visionist says: "I wanted to work with Frederik as he deals with the perception of realness, something I deal with within my own anxieties, creating and believing in situations that haven’t even happened yet.”
“Visionist and I focused on historic press images of people in the need of rescue," says Frederik Heyman. "Visionist then reenacts these situations via numerous 3D scans that are processed into several digital installations, maintaining the original photographic stillness that is key to my work.”
Frederik Heyman, Kk Obi, Louis Carnell - Ft. Y Project, Acne, Timo Zundorf, Olubiyi Thomas, Vivienne Westwood, Craig Green
Powell has blown up the limits of club music like few others, as a producer, DJ, and live artist, and by leading his trend-setting monthly Melon Magic show on NTS Radio and his ground-breaking record label Diagonal. In addition to releasing music on his own label, he has made major releases XL Recordings and Mute, exhibiting his own unique personality – a brash balance of groove and cheeky wit.
As well as featuring swathes of new music made this year and never heard outside the walls of the studio before, Powell has worked with visual artist Vincent de Belleval to develop a bespoke LED text-based platform that will act as an alternative channel via which he can communicate with his audience. The content of this can be determined right up to — and including — each individual show, and thus provides a strobing/scrolling/seething/steaming visual device that reflects not just the madcap spontaneity of the music, but the mind of Powell himself.
South London post-club electronic music visionary 'Visionist' performs Metallic samples, ice-cold soundscapes and a cappella fragments. Combining frantic noise loops and neurotic changes of tempo and structure with visual performance by Portuguese artist Pedro Maia, who works mostly around the concept of analogue cinema, exploring the possibilities of live manipulation of the image. Maia has worked for renowned musicians, such as Vessel, Fennesz, Demdike Stare or Shxcxchcxsh, and has presented his visuals at numerous festivals: Sonar, Atonal, All Tomorrow’s Parties, Mutek, etc.
In 2017 album 'Value' - released via Big Dada - explores complex interweaving ideas of artistic value and self-worth, while building on the distinct sound of previous releases. “Value” Live A/V is presented in collaboration with the filmmaker Pedro Maia (with additional footage by Teri Varhol).
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.”
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 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.
In our latest live music film, two outré acts collaborate.
In a short film last year, Darren Cunningham, who's better known as Actress, and Hugh Brunt, co-artistic director of the London Contemporary Orchestra alongside Robert Ames, said they wanted to create and play music together that was a true hybrid. When they said this they probably had the same thing in mind: those electronic-meets-classical projects that simply recreate dance tracks with acoustic instruments. In truth, there was never a danger this collaboration would be conventional. Cunningham is one of electronic music's most adventurous artists, a member of a small group of producers who have created a sound that's entirely—and recognisably—their own. For their part, the LCO seems to value innovation and collaboration above all else. They've worked extensively with artists from different musical disciplines (Matmos, Arcade Fire, William Basinski, Biosphere, Mira Calix, Goldfrapp and many others) and have been involved in film scores such as the Jonny Greenwood-led soundtrack for Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. The collaboration between Actress and the LCO took shape last year, with performances at The Barbican in London and Moscow's Strelka Institute, while the EPthey released last month is the first taste of a forthcoming album for Ninja Tune. Together, they've created something that finds both acts in a new musical zone.
When you see the LCO perform in this RA Session you'll understand why Cunningham liked the idea of working with them. Almost all of the instruments in this performance are played in unusual ways: the cello is banged, the piano is plucked, the marimba is draped with a blanket, a plastic bag is used as percussion. Blended with Cunningham's ghostly electronics, we get a strange yet captivating 12-minute, four-part performance.
Eddie Peake working once more with Actress, having recently provided the inner-sleeve artwork to the producer’s superb comeback LP on Ninja Tune AZD, premiere new choreography To Corpse.
Inspired by the theatrical slang used in British theatres where actors break character to burst into spontaneous laughter, the To Corpse performances will knit together site-specific physical works, whether revisiting Peake’s 2012 naked football match Touch or his 2005 work Fox in which actors will attempt to swap costumes (one normally clothed, one dressed like a fox) on the ferry between Naples and Stromboli.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.