Featured Top I by I 31.05.21

Fact Mix 810: Britton Powell

The Brooklyn composer and video artist combines music from Kenya, Indonesia, Brazil, New York and more on a globe-spanning Fact Mix.

Britton Powell’s mixed-media practice brings together video art, electronic production and percussion into a format that’s equally at home in a gallery as it is in a live performance space. On his stunning 2020 solo debut, If Anything Is, the Brooklyn-based composer created an audiovisual meditation on the intersection of technology, ritual, and urban landscape, weaving ambient composition together with a series of disparate scenes filmed in New York City.

While If Anything Is put Powell on the map as a composer to watch, he had already been performing and collaborating extensively prior to its release. In 2014, he performed with Matmos on their version of Robert Ashley’s television opera Perfect Lives, and in 2018, worked with ‘Fourth World’ pioneer Jon Hassell on his Listening to Pictures album.

Earlier this year, a 2018 collaboration with cellist Lucy Railton and producer Brian Leeds (also known as Huerco S.) was released on Shelter Press. Working under the name PDP III, the trio originally teamed up on a series of recording sessions in December 2018, in which Powell created a number of compositional sketches that were used as the basis for a series of improvisations, sometimes layering up to eight takes on a single track.

The resulting album, Pilled Up on a Couple of Doves, took two years to complete, as Powell edited and collaged the sessions into five pieces that straddle the boundary between physical sonic pressure and transcendent moods. On his Fact Mix, Powell sequences similar moments of ambient contemplation, but largely takes the opportunity to explore complex rhythms from around the world, featuring music from Kenya’s Slikback, US producer James Bangura, Indonesia’s Gabber Modus Operandi and Palestinian artist Muqata’a.

“Now more than ever I think it’s time we listen to and support the artists working in the present moment. In this mix you’ll find music from across the world that has been released in the last 12 months. I encourage all listeners and readers to explore their generosity and express their support directly to their favorite artists,” Powell says.

“In this mix you’ll find a reflection of our time from almost every corner of the globe; Brazilian field recordings, Kenyan club music, Indonesian Gabber, revolutionary music from New York City, and much more. I hope the sounds here inspire listeners to reach out to artists, labels, producers, engineers, and curators they love, and ask them how they can support.”

Follow Britton Powell on Instagram and find If Anything Is and Pilled Up on a Couple of Doves at Bandcamp.

Tracklist:

Olivia Salvadori – ‘An Invisible Ode’
First Epoque –  ‘Epoque No. 7’
Slikback – ‘KOROSHIMASU’
Yaera – ‘Elavoko 1’
James Bangura – ‘Incoherent Response’
Nilotika Cultural Ensemble – ‘Ejokawulida’
Felicia Atkinson – ‘THE WAVES’
Laughing Ears – ‘Potcheen’
Eiko Ishibashi – ‘EXIT’
Mbé – ‘Celebração do Xingu ao Congo’
James Hoff & Deforrest Brown – ‘Project for Revolution in New York’
K Wata – What Do U Want? (Hard Mix)’
Gabber Modus Operandi – ‘Nyonyon Rangda’
Muqata’a – ‘Bilharf Alwahad بالحَرف الواحَد’
Jonáš Gruska with bod[包家巷]) – ‘Spánok Nepríde Zo Smerov Ktoré Som Nechal Za Sebou’

Listen next: Fact Mix 809: Flora Yin-Wong

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