Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pictureplane- Thee Physical REVIEW

Whether it’s the cover art, the track titles, or the name of the album itself, almost everything about Thee Physical, the sophomore LP from Pictureplane aka Denver producer Travis Egedy, alludes to the sexually provocative. And while Thee Physical is indeed an electronic smorgasboard of sensual references and tension, it is far from the simple dancefloor orgy these traits suggest. Don’t get the wrong idea- Egedy actively refrains from subtlety, but he also stops just short of overindulgence. This stylistic choice affords the album the luxury of remaining overwhelming without the expense of fatigue.

Listening to Pictureplane’s latest album, I was reminded of Digitalism’s recent LP, I Love You, Dude. Both albums had similar intentions- to push the genre of dancefloor techno into a more ambitious, conceptual direction. In the end though, I Love You, Dude was nothing more than a thin smokescreen disguising mere traditionalism, while Thee Physical takes risks that ultimately pay off. At heart, Thee Physical is a club record, but it does not shy away from dabbling in sonic complexities. Egedy tastefully weaves in and out of various musical genres- ranging from mid-90s techno to rock to R&B to calypso and back again. “Body Mod”, “Trancegender” (featuring the suddenly ubiquitous Zola Jesus), and “Negative Slave” all feature experimental samples, loops, and time signatures yet still maintain their club-ready vibrancy. Pictureplane also does not skimp on powerful, pulsepounding anthems such as “Post Physical” and the explosive “Real is a Feeling”- both songs welcomingly showcase Egedy’s whispery vocals lost somewhere within the sonic synths and lasers. On albums like this, it’s good to occasionally hear the man behind the turntable. It reminds the listener that even at its most synthetic, the genre has both heart and mind. Pictureplane isn’t reinventing the wheel with Thee Physical, but he is definitely keeping it spinning.


- Fr. Jones

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