Oscar Powell’s debut album starts with 36 seconds of piercing static, the kind that’s exhilarating at punishingly high volume in a sweaty windowless box, but which is also, unfortunately, just mildly irritating at home-listening level. It sets the tone for the rest of ‘Sport’, an undeniably substantial slab of intelligent, gritty electronica that probably sounds incredible at Berghain but is a tougher listen pretty much anywhere else. That’s not to say the record’s without its intrigue.
Last year Powell trolled Steve Albini by publishing a snotty email he received from the Shellac legend on giant billboards, and his prankster humour shines through here too with his choice of bizarro samples: he appends heavy, motorik ‘Junk’ with a northern voice cooing, “that’s better, that’s Mellow Magic” seemingly in reference to every Uber driver’s favourite late-night radio station, and ‘Plastic’’s arrangement of cut-ups is pleasingly peculiar. Ultimately, though, while there’s lots to admire within ‘Sport’’s lemony synths, thudding programming and staticky confrontationalism, an hour of this aggression is rather exhausting.
Gift subscriptions are now available
It’s been a long time coming, but you can now buy your pal/lover/offended party a subscription to Loud And Quiet, for any occasion or no occasion at all.
Gift them a month or a full year. And get yourself one too.
Whoever it’s for, subscriptions allow us to keep producing Loud And Quiet and supporting independent new artists, labels and journalism.