Pictureplane PictureplaneThee Physical
I have – of late – noticed the resurgence of Ice-Rink-Core. Loosely speaking, the genre encompasses anything one might hear blasting through the speakers of an ice-rink’s system in the mid 90’s - from Yaz to the Prodigy via CeCe Peniston. Pictureplane adopts the anthems of Ice-Rink-Core and lovingly folds in a vital addition: an underground rave next door to the complex. The beats and bleeps are creeping through the walls, fracturing the rhythms and distorting the sound. It’s a pretty awesome combination.
“Thee Physical” – the second album from Denver based performance artist Travis Egedy - opens with the wonderfully propulsive “Body Mod”. Egedy makes his intentions abundantly clear from the outset: looping the line “the ill behaviour is back” over stabbing synths and thumping beats.
“Black Nails” and “Sex Mechanism” perpetuate the hip-shaking euphoria, whilst underscoring the proceedings with witch-house unease. “Trancegender” is another highlight of the album - swathed in longing melodic ascensions and unexpected breaks. Like a detuned radio – caught between The Cure and Kelly Charles – with the occasional interjections of an eager pirate station.
Egedy re-contextualises Commercial Dance music, by infusing it with a lo-fi aesthetic. He smashes a car-boot collection of Club Classics, to create a makeshift kaleidoscope from the sonic pieces. A colourful assortment of synths and samples; jumbled through the glow of nostalgia and the spin of hindsight.
Pictureplane’s DIY ethic is immensely appealing, yet there are some undeniable issues with “Thee Physical”. I remain unconvinced by the additional vocal lines provided by Egedy; particularly in comparison with the soulful samples he has masterfully woven through the majority of the album. His vapid voice grates, with the hushed attempts at intensity of a boy-band reject. I imagine him dressed in white on a bar stool, earnestly singing into a television camera with choreographed integrity - before rising and walking forward, hand on affected heart, during the key change. I’m not sure how firmly Egedy’s tongue protrudes into his cheek – but regardless, it’s one step too far down the post-pop path for me. Furthermore, the album drags - despite being only marginally above the 45 minute mark.
Pictureplane reportedly attempts to promote “interconnected psychic relationships” in order to ultimately “push our minds, bodies, and spirits towards a new higher vibrational consciousness”. Accordingly “Thee Physical” transports me to one of the few locations I could (potentially) stomach the said sentiment: the final hours of an outdoor music festival. The sun is coming up, the stages have long since closed and you’re in a field watching revellers dance to an impromptu set provided by a burger van. With a nagging nostalgia for the preceding 72 hours, you drop your cynicism and join them.
“Real Is A Feeling”