With his own label Diagonal Records, established in 2011, and as XL Recordings’ latest pop pioneer, Powell scissors through the current musical landscape cleverly shaping, cutting, replacing and repositioning. What emerges is a distinct sound, a new panorama that’s fantastically out-of-sorts with the tired conventions and techno-by-numbers predictability of modern-day electronic music. As one of the leaders of a new guard of fearless DIY talent, Powell discards and reinterprets youth concepts with a razor sharp sense of self-curation, almost hip-hop in its ability to apply and re-apply a sound that is confrontational, vigorous, propulsive and above all psychedelic in its presentation. He combines the full-tilt innovation first realised in post-punk with the wide-eyed excitement of 90s rave electricity, but at the same time abandons it all. Owning one’s own sound IS the new original — and no one else sounds like Powell.
Powell has the potential to be a proper festival star in the mould of
the Chemical Brothers, with a live set that is full of chewy,
satisfying chunks of drums. Any producer can make breakbeats,
and most rip the funk out of them; Powell makes them jitter with
thrilling uncertainty as post-punk vocals blurt madly between them.”
Powell traverses the same spectrum from brilliant to dumb, fromsuper to stoopid as The Beastie Boys circa ‘Intergalactic’, andproposes the same kind of grand unifying theory of funkas Basement Jaxx circa ‘Red Alert’.”