Steve Albini Hates Electronic Music, So a Dance Producer Took Out a Billboard to Spite Him
"I detest club culture as deeply as I detest anything on earth."
Steve Albini’s never one to let his dissatisfaction go unregistered. The famed engineer and Electrical Audio owner unleashed another of his now-famous rants about the state of modern music recently at the expense of British producer Powell, according a report from The Quietus. Powell, whose crushed-out club track “Sylvester Stallone” was one of SPIN’s 40 Best Dance Songs of 2015 So Far, apparently emailed Albini attempting to clear a vocal sample from one of his old Big Black songs for his new single “Insomniac,” and the response was a little more than he bargained for.
Rather than listen to the track and reply accordingly, Albini used the occasion to issue a treatise on dance music as a concept. “I am absolutely the wrong audience for this kind of music,” he wrote. “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.”
It didn’t get much better once he started to explain the strands of electronic music he had been into. “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,” he said. “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.”
And yet, the harsh words come with a positive result for Powell. “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,” he said. “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.”
Powell, however, seems to have taken it all in stride and has taken out a self-deprecating billboard featuring only the text of the email as promotion for his new single. It’s a shame it all played out this way though, you have to imagine that Albini might have liked Powell’s blackened take on club structures anyway.
Check out photos of the billboard below.
What’s this Steve Albini open letter all about? pic.twitter.com/Te7kMBvVQF
— Rik Lomas (@riklomas) September 29, 2015
— Jen Long (@jenlong) September 29, 2015