As The Quietus has discovered, to clear the sample for ‘Insomniac’, coming soon on XL Recordings, Powell sent off an email to Albini telling him how much he loved Big Black and explaining what he was up to.
Albini, it turns out, doesn’t give a shit.
“I am absolutely the wrong audience for this kind of music,” he wrote back. “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.”
Shifting into full old-man-shouting-at-cloud mode, Albini continued: “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. 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 as for the vocal sample, Albini had “no problem” with letting him use it. “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.”
The fabulous result of this exchange is the enormous billboard poster currently advertising the single in east London, which simply reprints Albini’s email reply. Albini was fine with this too: “Still don’t care.”
Gaze on that billboard and check out ‘Insomniac’ at 31:33 in the player below.