Review: Simon Pomery aka Blood Music has already put out on Powell Diagonal label - a true lesson in contemporary power electronics and steely-eyed pseudo dance music - so we knew that we'd be getting our heads battered once more. The opener, "Chicks", is a harsh and abrasive tribal dance to Lucifer, its rumbling kicks bouncing off poisonous guitar riffs, whereas "Sharking" is all hollow and beatless, pushing forth the delays and effects in favour of the noise. On the flip, however, the aptly named "Badgering" spits brain-damaging layers of machine feedback from its underbelly, the only thing holding the track together being its utter violence. There's a gorgeous Helm remix on "Chicks", where the young Pan affiliate strips the tribalism down to industrial levels and fills the canvas with a generous portion of reverb. Hotly recommended!
Review: After two sterling bouts from Powell, the burgeoning Diagonal label turn their attention to London outfit Blood Music, led by Simon Pomery. With a distinct nod to the focused noise of Sonic Youth, and the breathless vocals of Thurston Moore to boot, Pomery is on fire on EP opener "Rare Earth Material", all throttling drums and huge chords thwacks with a cavernous quality to them. "Speak Like Violence" is a slightly less direct affair, taking a meandering course through shifting phases of squall and distortion but no less energetic en route.
Review: The second of two quick releases for the Diagonal label, A Waif's Rent sees the project of Factory Floor's Dominic Butler and L/F/D/M producer Richard Smith deliver three more productions crouching in the crawlspace between techno, industrial and noise. Like the material on the O Unilateralis record, these three tracks pull no punches in terms of their sonic impact; the 13-minute "Albion Pressure" sees a gritty, pulsating synth line driven forward on a wave of insistent metallic clutter, while "Cut Bronze" employs a more subtle approach, with sub-bass frequencies placed underneath modular gurgles and a hypnotic rhythm that could be described as minimal. "Tephra" is the real killer, taking its central synth line to giddy eardrum-splitting frequencies.
Review: Diagonal Records continues its unstoppable run of form with the debut release of Bronze Teeth, a duo comprised of Factory Floor's Dominic Butler and Richard Smith, whose music under the L/F/D/M banner on Optimo Music and Clan Destine Trax seems similarly indebted to the heritage of Throbbing Gristle. Far from being a simple exercise in analogue fetishism however, the three-track O Unilateralis contains some of the most uncompromising tracks the label have put out to date, with the 12-minute centrepiece "Tapeworm" proving a punishing exercise in arcane synth improvisation that finds itself forming into a shambling piece of zombie techno. Both "Acetone" and "Glass Tooth" are more conventional in their attention to rhythm, but are no less likely to bend minds on the dancefloor, employing the kind of rhythms that bring Ike Yard to mind.
Review: year or two. While the imprint was previously focussed on bringing forth his own chilling pseudo-techno jams, he's just gone and dropped a two-tracker by none other than Consumer Electronics, a lil' old band comprised of Russell Haswell, Philip Best and Sarah Froelich. Conceptual might be the wrong way to describe these jams, but they certainly have an artistic air about them, where "Murder The Masters", for example, chucks a steady 4/4 kick below a dark and sinister male monologue. The B-side, "Alien Existence" evolves it into a relatively more musical affair, where the same voice is now accompanied by a female counterpart and a further injection of drones and metallic sonics.
Review: Ren Schofield aka Container is back with his first release of 2016 and our favourite noise/techno fiend lands comfortably on Jaime Williams and Powell's ever-excellent Diagonal label. Title cut "Vegetation" sets the scene with a murky, swamped-out techno fuzz that sounds a little like the soundtrack to an apocalypse, a blur of the senses that is swiftly followed by the more militaristic beats of the equally fuzzy 'Soak" - what a tip! "Funnel" waves its distorted bleeps through heavy kicks and snares, "Radiator" a certified Container head banger, and the final tune "Insulation" is a broken medley of bass, drums and pure grit. Sick.
Review: Something of a landmark release for the Diagonal label here as they turn to seminal NYC no-wave troupe Death Comet Crew to helm their first album release. Titled Ghost Among The Crew in honour of the fallen legend Rammellzee, this eight track set is a landmark for Death Comet Crew themselves as it's the band's debut album! Recorded by core Death Comet Crew members Stuart Argabright, Michael Diekman, Shinichi Shimokawa and Nick 'DJ High Priest' Taylor, Ghost Among The Crew features guest spots from Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6/ Hercules & Love Affair fame, Rapscallion (a friend of Rammellzee's) and Carolyn 'Honeychild' Coleman and truly sounds like Diagonal's description of "chewing up and spitting out fragments of soul, jazz fusion, punk and industrial music".
Review: Following two inspired outings under the Bronze Teeth moniker, Dom Butler and L/F/D/M return to Diagonal with a new alias, Green Gums, and a suitably fuzzy and angular set of tracks. Opener "ZoZoMoNo" sets the tone, layering wild waves of acid atop an EBM-inspired rhythm pattern. There's more distorted electronics and thunderous low-end bounce to be found on "Dag", while "Cestoda's Labyrinth" sees them combine the worlds of acid, industrial and analogue techno in a thrillingly atmospheric, rhythmically intense way. Closer "Tap Dancing Goat Man" flips the script, slowing the tempo to a druggy chug, thus allowing their trippy electronic refrains a chance to breathe.
Review: As 2014 has rolled on, Powell's Diagonal label has really gathered a sense of momentum and direction with its succession of releases. With the Juno office stereo still in recovery from the most excellent Shit & Shine LP Powder Horn, this new double pronged noise sermon from the masterful Russell Haswell only adds to their impressive year. Comprised of two 10-minute tracks, Double A is at times as bracing as anything else from the Haswell canon, with the scratched, spasmodic improvised sonics of lead track "Foxy" potentially capable of scaring Richard D James back into hiding. "One Take Dub No Edit" is described by Diagonal as a "flashback to a vital time when futurist Latin freestyle and industrial funk were the dancer's choice" and is perhaps the closest concession to the dancefloor from Haswell yet.
Review: A respected figure within the world of visual arts, which has seen him exhibit in numerous galleries across the world over the last two decades, Russell Haswell is perhaps best known for his prolific work in the realm of experimental noise. Brandishing a discography that dips back into the late '90s and features a raft of releases across Editions Mego, iDEAL and Warp. Haswell's latest solo album comes courtesy of Powell's increasingly essential Diagonal Records imprint, and sees a shift towards more overtly rhythmic material, with influences including Autechre, Aphex Twin, Adrian Sherwood and Napalm Death. As you'd expect, it's a bracing affair, and one that does a better job than most at connecting the dots between techno and noise.
Where Are We (feat. Marie Davidson) - (3:43) 126 BPM
Teach Me - (3:04) 160 BPM
Forever - (3:46) 116 BPM
Her Quality - (2:58) 129 BPM
Interested/Going - (1:57) 90 BPM
Watch Yourself - (3:11) 116 BPM
Tool - (5:38) 126 BPM
Roll Along With The Pain Of It All - (3:55) 158 BPM
Review: Alessio Natalizia uncovers his new album under the Not Waving guise for Powell's Diagonal Records: a label he has become a stalwart of since the inception of his project a few years ago. The former Walls member and Ecstatic label boss follows up last year's Animals LP with another collection of contorted EBM derivatives - with a quirked-out/tongue-in-cheek approach that is evident throughout the label's entire catalogue. Fresh from a collaboration (which appears here in the form of "Where Are We") and tour with Canadian songstress Marie Davidson, the Good Luck LP features a whole heap of jagged and angular dancefloor experiments. Including the lead single "Me Me Me" of course, as well as many other highlights such as the gnarly acid-punk of "Children Are Our Phuture" or the strobe-lit ketted sing-along that is "Watch Yourself".
Review: Since Powell last appeared on his own Diagonal Records label back in 2012 with Body Music, his unique mulch of post-punk textures, industrial techno and jerky no wave beats has taken the world by storm, seeing releases on The Death of Rave and Mute's Liberation Technologies imprint. While Powell's sound to date has been characterised by frenetic, seizure-inducing rhythms, Club Music sees Powell bring things down to a more mixable tempo. "So We Went Electric" is the closest thing to straight techno he's made, though the frazzled textures sound like more Evol than Regis, while the pumped up monosynths that drive "No U Turn" are anchored by an underlying beat and guitar shreds that sound as if they could have come from an old Neptunes beat left to rust. Finally, the Russell Haswell collaboration "Maniac" is as crazed as its name suggests, a shrewd piece of contorted midtempo noise-funk which combines the raw power of both producers brilliantly.
Review: Upon release in 2011, Powell's debut The Ongoing Significance Of Steel & Flesh was of course notable for the inclusion of an edit from UK techno royalty Regis, but in truth Powell demonstrated enough of his own musical ingenuity to ensure any future Diagonal transmissions would be eagerly anticipated. Across the five tracks on Body Music, Powell further carves his own distinct sonic niche, drawing on a palette of sounds that includes drum patterns that operate outside standard rhythmic sense, odd vocal samples and textural repetition that burrows deep. The title track demonstrates this aptly, and along with tracks like the lolloping "Grand Street" could feasibly be very much at home on the Downwards DO series, while "Search" discards with percussive notions altogether, relying on droning sub bass experiments to draw you in.
The Ongoing Significance Of Steel & Flesh - (4:16)
09 - (6:06)
09 (Karl O' Connor remix) - (5:27)
Robotics - (3:48)
Review: The London-based Diagonal imprint launches with the sounds of label boss Powell, who calls in some UK techno royalty in the form of Regis to contribute an edit. The EP's title (The Ongoing Significance Of Steel & Flesh) immediately suggests Regis and his bleak industrial take on techno are a significant influence on Powell, yet within the opening bars such considerations are swept aside: here we have a producer wholly intent on carving his own distinctive sonic niche. On the title track that niche sounds like a lost Mute Records demo recorded in a dank Macclesfield garage, with the hollow drums looped and stripped back to their rawest form. The introduction of a distorted, crunchy bassline that precedes the track dropping out altogether for a brief moment is sumptuous! This is joined by the dread filled drone of "09", whose reverb-laden kick drum slowly emerges from the bleak landscape to create a sense of inescapable pregnant doom; the accompanying Regis remix of "09", puts clattering breakbeats pitched way down, buried beneath a hanging synth line. The brilliant dementia of "Robotics" rounds off this most excellent of releases with bizarre stop-start drum programming and a growling bassline.
The Ongoing Significance Of Steel & Flesh - (4:17) 156 BPM
Acid - (2:34) 152 BPM
So We Went Electric - (6:39) 112 BPM
Robotics - (3:48) 150 BPM
Have It - (3:18) 132 BPM
Fizz - (7:29) 160 BPM
Nude - (2:40) 160 BPM
Oh No New York - (5:23) 150 BPM
Maniac (feat Russell Haswell) - (6:19) 100 BPM
Body Music - (6:07) 148 BPM
Review: Diagonal has been one of 2014's standout labels, bringing innovation and most importantly a sense of humour to techno across a series of releases from the Russell Haswell, Bronze Teeth and more. It is however label founder Powell's own music that set the tone for the label, and on this retrospective collection the producer collects all of his music from the past three years released on labels including Diagonal, Liberation Technologies and The Death Of Rave. If you're yet to indulge in the gristly, skewed, off-centre brand of techno Powell has been blessing us with recently, this is the ideal place to get involved with one of techno's most exciting producers.
Review: With the label at the peak of its powers after a breakthrough 2014, one of the final Diagonal releases sees material from Powell's excellent Club Music EP treated and abused by the titan-esque figures of Ancient Methods and Richard H. Kirk. If you've seen Powell towering over some decks or heard his Melon Magic show on NTS it's likely you will recognise at least one of the four remixes here and it's hard to pick out one favourite. Ancient Methods goes all turbo-charged Nitzer Ebb on his opening Korpersaure91 remix of "Club Music" whilst the playfully juddering rhythms of the subsequent Pogo Im Saurebad effort should explain the title. Meanwhile Kirk boils down "So We Went Electric" to its barest rhythmic elements on a fizzing main mix whilst the accompanying dub is full on crazy.
Review: Powell's Diagonal Records label continues to plunder it's own unique sonic path, with the label debut of Prostitutes following swiftly on from that excellent Shit & Shine EP. Prostitutes is the current creative focus of James Donadio, a veteran of Cleveland's underground music scene, whose blend of blend of primitive rhythms and industrial sonics have graced Opal Tapes and Digitalis after the project's emergence with a self titled release on the artist's own stabUdown label in 2011. Fans of Container, Metasplice and Carlos Giffoni will find much that appeals in the Prostitutes approach that is demonstrated with aplomb on the Shatter and Lose EP. Indeed we'd go so far as say there are echoes of vintage Cabs in cuts like "Poison The Masses" and "Sold A Decade At A Time". As with previous Diagonal releases great attention has been paid to the sleeve art; created by Guy Featherstone and photographer Robbie Maynard, the pair tracked down two real prostitutes off the Caledonian Road in London, and overlaid their pictures on top of each other to create the striking, if disturbing, cover.
Review: After he dropped his 17-strong opus to Diagonal back in September, maverick noise botherer Russell Haswell gets bothered himself by a strong cast of other ne'erdowells from the outer reaches. The stars of the show are Autechre, who turn in something quite unusual for the occasion with a brutally reduced, interference reveling "Conformity Version" of "Heavy Handed Sunset". Label boss Powell brings some of his future-EBM stylings to his "Cov Megamix" of "Hardwax Flashback", while DJ Stingray does a fine and confrontational job in reworking "Gas Attack". It's a powerful collection of fringe sonic studies that manage to make experimentation lots of fun.
Special Long Version (feat Sue Tompkins - Demo) - (9:59) 133 BPM
Let Suffering Become You - (2:44) 133 BPM
Review: We're not gonna lie when we say that we absolutely love Russell Haswell. The UK industrial misfit is among the few who can truly bring the heat in pretty much any situation he's in, or on any record he's unleashing his deathly twists of distortion on. Over recent years, he's struck up a winning partnership with Diagonal boss Powell, and together they've now racked up plenty of releases and DJ sets, both bashing out the hard gear on a constant basis. Haswell is back on Diagonal here, coming through with five harsh, penetrative tracks under the umbrella of Respondent. While none of these tunes could be classified as traditional techno, or even 'dance' music, they do contain enough movement to appeal to a very specific sort of DJ - the ones with the most cojones! This is classic Haswell material at its most cavernous. Recommended.
Review: Craig Clouse's Shit & Shine project is more wild, fun and free-spirited than your average industrial inspired, noise-obsessed outfit. This is due, in part, to the project's ever-changing cast-list of drummers, some of whom come to the fore on the amusingly titled Total Shit. It's the outfit's first album for Powell's Diagonal label, and giddily rushes between bombastic fusions of Stomp style percussion and wonky industrial techno, EBM influenced eccentricity, madcap post-disco funkiness (the brilliantly cheeky "Long Island City"), mutant electro (the bizarre but brilliant "I Hate This Machine"), crackpot experimentalism, and tracks that gleefully slither free of genre categorization. In other words, it's a hugely entertaining, imaginative affair, jam-packed with tracks that get better with every listen.
Review: Fronted by Texan musician Craig Clouse, Shit and Shine's skewed combination of primitive techno, industrial, noise and classic garage rock has gained them a significant live reputation, bolstered by their intimidating array of releases, predominantly arriving on the UK-based Riot Season label. Their thick-set musical style makes them an ideal candidate for a release on the Diagonal imprint run by Powell, and like his music, this eponymous EP takes a similarly skewed take on the dancefloor; "Blowhannon" is like vintage Cherrystones with added disco muscle, "Value" throws raw rhythms into a gravel filled washing machine and "Shower Curtain" combines a deeply sleazy sense of funk together with ethereal delay; most visceral is "Dixie Peach", a swollen morass of steroid pumped bass which is in fact an edit of Theo Parrish's "Synthetic Flemm". Big tip on this one, no matter what your musical preferences are...
Review: Yes! Powder Horn is the result of Powell's Diagonal label coaxing a new album's worth of material out of Shit & Shine, the masterful project of Texan musician Craig Clouse. Whereas previous Shit & Shine material has seen Clouse working with other musicians, this album is purely his own work and delights on so many levels. It's fairly hard to accurately surmise how this nine-track album sounds such is the range of styles covered though Diagonal's description of Powder Horn as a raucous collection of 'deviant funk, wiry disco and burnt-out acid' is pretty on the money. Perhaps it's best to describe it as everything (and more) you'd expect to hear in a Powell DJ set with "Pearl Drop" and "PG13" particular standouts.
Review: The project of Nation and L.I.E.S. artist Beau Wanzer and White Car's Elon Katz, Streetwalker first appeared with the Ooze cassette on Catholic Tapes back in 2011, before releasing the excellent Future Fusion LP on Minimal Wave sister label Cititrax last year. Diagonal boss Powell has long hinted at the idea of a Streetwalker release on his label, so fans of not-paying-hiked-up-Discogs-prices-for-cassettes will be very happy to see the title track from that 2011 cassette re-released. Apparently recorded using a "a rare E-mu modular system and a home-built light-sensitive synthesiser", the primal iteration of Streetwalker shown on "Ooze" is more unhinged than their subsequent Cititrax LP and feels perfectly at home here. There is also a rather fine rework from Silent Servant which adds haunting overtones that will be familiar to anyone that's caught the Jealous God founder live recently.