Insomniac / I Should’ve Been a Drummer (XL)
continues on trajectory of mutant dance music with this two tracker.
“Insomniac” is like chiptune put through the ringer, with
relentless crushed synths and chunky sampled drums underpinning it.
Much press has been made of Powell’s email exchange with Steve
Albini, whose voice is sampled on “Insomniac.” It’s all sort of
meta and smart, with the track playing out like a weird mangled
version of Big Black. The heavyhanded drums especially recall BB, and
I’m sure it’s no accident. So regardless of Albini’s low opinion of
“dance music” (whatever that means these days), Powell has oddly
crafted a fitting tribute to its samplee.
The flip side, “Should’ve
Been a Drummer” also uses spoken bits from Albini in perfect irony,
over its own ramshackle dance music structure. It has some of that
mechanized pounding of Big Black but at the subservience of Powell’s
own off-kilter acid patterns, sounding rushed out without quantizing,
essentially betraying the clubby slickness that Albini so vehemently