Power Out, a new project headed by Sarah Heneghan, is a ‘mish-mash of drum machines, bassline sequencers, and live drums’, proclaiming itself to be focused on grooves, loops, and creating energy and atmosphere through rhythm. Power Out is set to release a new EP in March, and we were given the chance to take an exclusive look at the first single, ‘Heckler’.
This new project is so exciting because it focuses entirely on rhythm, and in particular, the live and improvised elements of rhythm which are so essential to jazz music and to festivals more widely. Power Out’s audience can expect tracks which are categorised as IDM (intelligent dance music), experimental, or improvised jazz – yet this music is for anyone who enjoys movement. It was a pleasure to get an exclusive listen to Heneghan’s project, and to feel the energy and intentions of her work before it’s released to the public.
‘Heckler’ opens with live drums playing alone, in an immediately unusual and irregular time signature. Yet, as electronic rhythmic elements enter, a groove develops which makes this irregular time much more accessible and danceable: it really makes you want to move. The use of stop-time throughout ‘Heckler’ is so effective because the audience is so honed in on rhythm and the feeling of movement that when it suddenly stops, there’s a strong feeling of tension and anticipation in the silence. This silence also strangely feels like meditation – the whole piece has a meditative quality to it.
“The use of stop-time throughout ‘Heckler’ is so effective because the audience is so honed in on rhythm and the feeling of movement that when it suddenly stops, there’s a strong feeling of tension and anticipation in the silence. “
After the most obvious moment of stop-time in the track, ‘Heckler’ then moves into busier, looping rhythms which are grounded by the low bass line introduced at the piece’s climactic point. Heneghan plays with the audience’s expectations when it comes to the rhythmic ideas being displayed, as she doesn’t allow us to sit too comfortably in any given rhythm. It feels as though the piece is almost a study of, or meditation on, rhythm itself.
‘Heckler’ is a great introduction in Power Out’s exciting new set of releases to come. With the first track being so immersive, rhythmically interesting and danceable, the anticipation for the full set of tracks will grow as audiences are introduced to the project. The live element of ‘Heckler’ will also be revitalising for many who are missing live music right now, and who need an excuse to get up and move. We can’t wait to hear the rest of the EP.
Review by Evie Hill