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Powell Vs Steve Albini!!!!
The Quietus , September 29th, 2015 11:18

The promotion for Powell's new XL single has taken a rather unexpected avenue with a little help from Steve Albini

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While raving our shoes thin to Powell's CTM Festival set at Berghain earlier this year, tQ's Sophie and Luke were especially thrilled by a track which had a mad vocal shout that we thought was about fisting. However, it transpires that it was actually a sample of Steve Albini introducing a track from a Big Black gig. This has now appeared on Powell's new single, 'Insomniac', for XL Recordings. Seeking clearance for the vocal sample, Powell emailed Albini, saying how much the music of Big Black had meant to him and explaining what he did. Mr Albini subsequently replied that though it seemed that "you've got a cool thing set up for yourself" he was hardly partial to the sort of fruity EBM that Powell makes. "I am absolutely the wrong audience for this kind of music. I've always detested mechanized dance music, its stupid simplicity, the clubs where it was played, the people who went to those clubs, the drugs they took, the shit they liked to talk about, the clothes they wore, the battles they fought amongst each other... basically all of it, 100 percent hated every scrap."

Oh dear. Albini continued: "The electronic music I liked was radical and different, shit like the White Noise, Xenakis, Suicide, Kraftwerk, and the earliest stuff form Cabaret Voltaire, SPK and DAF. When that scene and those people got co-opted by dance/club music I felt like we'd lost a war. I detest club culture as deeply as I detest anything on earth. So I am against what you're into, and an enemy of where you come from".

Despite this, Albini was quite happy to let Powell use the vocal sample: "I have no problem with what you're doing," he wrote. "I haven't bothered listening to the links, mainly because I'm in a hotel with crappy internet at the moment but also because it probably wouldn't be to my taste and that wouldn't help either of us. In other words, you're welcome to do whatever you like with whatever of mine you've gotten your hands on. Don't care. Enjoy yourself."

Ever the wag, Powell replied to Albini's email saying that the vocal sample had been cleared with Touch & Go, and asked if he could use their email exchange to illustrate the track's video. Again, Albini is ambivalent about this possibility - "Still don't care". And so we have the video for 'Insomniac', which is set to follow soon, and the above billboard which you can go and check out for yourself right now along London's Commercial Street. As ways to promote your new record go, this is certainly up there.

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Sep 29, 2015 11:47am

You have the video, but where is the video?

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Albini is a douche
Sep 29, 2015 1:07pm

"Rap music? More like CRAP music! Am I right???" - S. Albini

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Sep 29, 2015 2:37pm

What a dull little man.

Somebody ought to spike him with MDMA & play him some Weatherall.

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Sep 29, 2015 2:46pm

In reply to Clare:

Steve Albini is plenty of things but he's isn't dull.

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Sep 29, 2015 3:16pm

Ah, dear old grumpy Uncle Steve.

The truth is that despite being a crabby musical revanchist faced with anything that found popularity after 1986, he knows his shit enough to (nearly) always do the right thing. He OK'd the sample, didn't he? Let the old dog growl, he's not gonna bite anyone and he's still fun to take to for a walk.

Learn everything you can from Steve Albini's every word, then disregard the self-obviously useless bits.

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Sep 29, 2015 3:38pm

Going to dig out my Rapeman album now xx I don't think Albini has done anything particularly bellend esque. Nice of him to reply really xx

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F Again
Sep 29, 2015 3:44pm

"That's Our Steve!

Tonight at 9.

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Sep 29, 2015 4:15pm

In Albini's defence (whoever he is) that insomniac record is terrible

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mrs. george
Sep 29, 2015 4:52pm

heh heh heh - makes me wanna listen to songs about fucking again. albini may not roll, but he sure does rock, if nothing else.

mrs. george

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Sep 29, 2015 5:42pm

" I detest club culture as deeply as I detest anything on earth."

Steve Albini, never not un-wrong.

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Werdna Nitsua
Sep 29, 2015 10:56pm

The fact that Steve Albini responded shows that he gives a shit - it's just that, in this case, he gives a shit about not giving a shit. A mutual nod between 2 detail-oriented music makers, and why not? Plus, I bet Oscar was thrilled he even wrote back!

Plus, XL give him a 20 quid promo budget, & now the cheeky bugger's got 14.50 left over. Maybe he'll get some stickers printed? Then someone can write a story about that too. Win-win, right?!?

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Sep 30, 2015 12:12pm

seems legit

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Apr 28, 2017 9:29pm

Conrad Schnitzler is missing in Steve's line-up

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