Oscar Powell, who makes dance music mononymously as Powell, has a new single coming out on XL called “Insomniac”. The track samples an old vocal snippet from Chicago producer king Steve Albini back when he played with Big Black. In order to get clearance for to use the sample, Powell emailed Albini directly — and Albini being Albini, he didn’t give the green light without also putting up a bit of a fuss.
“I am absolutely the wrong audience for this kind of music,” Albini replied to Powell’s query. “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 s*** they liked to talk about, the clothes they wore, the battles they fought amongst each other…” Though he voiced strong disapproval over pretty much everything Powell does with his life, Albini did end up giving him the go-ahead to use the sample.
Thankfully, Powell didn’t let Albini’s lecture go to waste. He asked the producer if he could also use the email to promote the single, to which Albini predictably responded, “Still don’t care.” With XL’s help, Powell’s now put the entire email up as a giant billboard on Commercial Street in London as a subtle/not-so-subtle ad for “Insomniac”.
Read the full text of the zinger-laden billboard below.
From: Steve Albini
To: Oscar Powell
11 April 2015 10:21
Sounds like you’ve got a cool thing set up for yourself. 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 s*** 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.
The electronic music I liked was radical and different. S*** like the White Noise, Xenakis, Suicide, Kraftwerk, and the earliest stuff form [sic] Cabret 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 but I have no problem with what you’re doing. 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.