Oscar Powell's techno literally sounds like trash—it's as though he assembles his tracks from parts he found in a junkyard, all broken metal and the crunch of machinery. Last year's Club Music was a collection of killer dance floor cuts that felt strung together with twine, and his debut for XL does it one better.
Recalling the drum & bass-inspired Fizz, "Sylvester Stallone" is as high-octane as the action movies its namesake stars in. It's essentially electro mangled beyond recognition, and it surges like it's in a rush to get somewhere. Along that rocky road we get piercing resonance, concrete-grinder noise and melodies that sputter randomly, as if Powell dumped a bucket of water on his sequencer. "Smut" is closer to the lopsided funk of Club Music, based on a lurching drum sample with plenty of odd sound effects and bits of static. Topped off with snares that land in all the wrong places, it's endearingly ramshackle. Both tracks are rough and not necessarily what you'd expect from an artist debuting on a mainstream-baiting label like XL. But Powell's most prominent 12-inch yet further highlights his idiosyncratic talent for moulding aural debris into captivating club tracks.