Powell loosens up and reaches out on the 2nd “New Beta” playground – a place to explore his more reflexive, emotive urges – with seven curious permutations that swerve from Æ-style abstraction to pointillist electro-acid and a brace of mutant diskotheek breakers. As with the first volume, he’s clearly still gassed off his new hardware, resulting in a nerve-jumping fizz and crack that sounds like he’s jamming with fingers directly in the jack ports, channelling his thoughts and feels practically unimpeded.
Like some cyborg antagonist who can’t stand to see humans plodding four square bro-si-bro in the dance, Powell fractures and gels the groove in wickedly freakish exercises, increasingly finding himself attracted to near beat-less structures to give his dancers and listeners freakier feels and more jelly limbed options for kinaesthetic interpretation.
On “PosTAe” he prangs out in sincere tribute to arch ‘borgs Autechre with a hot mess of haywire modular plongs, before “Sneak 2_05” catches him cutting back to the ascetic funk of his earliest 12”s, this time sharper, serpentine, before “Rudeboy”, “Let’s Funk” catapults us into something like a scrap between clipped drum clatter and acid zig-zags itching for the sweat and perfume of the ‘floor.
“Slippy Pig” jabs the B-side into play with some of the EP’s nattiest, stepping impulses drawing a line from The Normal thru Ed Rush’s Wormhole via “The Bocaccio”, then “Drumz VIP” darts like some deviant jazz-funk oddity from West London, with its dissonant flourishes making way for the febrile blatz of “Hoi!!” and the EP’s surprise standout in the richly colourful and dynamic phrasing of “Strobe”, perhaps the smartest/goofiest iteration of Powell’s new sound in circulation.