The American underground is full of DJs, producers and promoters (often the same person) pushing distinct regional styles outside of the spotlight of the dance music media. These artists are often located outside of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, situating them even further from the ever-churning hype cycle, although it’s not outlandish to say that America’s regional scenes are the driving force behind dance music’s upsurge in this country. Savannah, Georgia’s Chris Powers aka C Powers has existed on both sides of the conversation, a seasoned practitioner of kinetic American rave sounds who has also spent time in London as No Pain In Pop‘s in-house DJ, contributed to the Houndstooth-signed 18+ project and thrown parties with a range of international talent. Powers’ personal output is as American as it gets though, melding boogie, breaks, electro and house into a singular, timeless medley.
That output has come across a series of EPs for labels like CGI Records, Niche-N-Bump and Proper Trax and are all firmly aimed at the danceloor. Powers’ sound is at times track-y, but never lacking in funk, always pulling at several thematic elements without losing sight of the core groove. It’s timeless music that takes on a particular brightness in Powers’ own mixes, lanky, freeform affairs that contextualize his influences with the flair of a natural. It’s clear that he takes the art of DJing seriously and that project has extended to Mom Radio, the label and mix series he co-runs with CH-Rom. Entries from the likes of Bearcat, Fit of Body and Space Jam litter the Mom archives, as does a standout selection from C Powers himself.
Powers’ latest release, the Love Austerity EP, comes via New York’s Sweat Equity, a logical fit for both artist and label and one that follows a standout effort from Drumloop, as well as a split DJ Delish/Macy Rodman single. Across five tracks, Powers induces propulsion and euphoria in equal measures, relying on a number of break manipulation techniques and brilliantly funky basslines to keep the party going. The arrangements are sparse, but always feel full bodied, full of disarming vocals and pleasing pads. It’s aimed squarely at the utopian dancefloor without ever giving up concerns of the body. It’s also a sound continued in his Astral Plane Mix, which lays bare the C Powers sound over an hour and eleven minutes of frenetic, joyous mixing. Periods of nuts-and-bolts trax interface with hands-in-the-air moments of rave exuberance as several decades of American dance music are collapsed into one, continuous thread. Be sure to check out Love Austerity, Mom Radio and to grab a download of C Powers’ Astral Plane Mix.