American electronic renegade Pictureplane finds magic in the machine

Tuesday 01st, December 2015 / 19:58
By Colin Gallant
Pictureplane channels magic via technology at first ever Canadian performances.

Pictureplane channels magic via technology at first ever Canadian performances.

VANCOUVER — Pictureplane’s latest album Technomancer is a conundrum that merges darkness and light, violence and benevolence. The artist born Travis Egedy has released the pulsing and sensual, yet mechanical and foreboding work ahead of an extensive tour with industrial noise-niks HEALTH.

“HEALTH are good friends of mine. We’ve toured together before and played a lot of shows together over the years so it’s just like hanging with good friends basically. We’ve known each other for a long time,” Egedy says.

Egedy recalls booking shows for the Los Angeles quintet at Rhinoceropolis, his former home and DIY arts hub in Denver, CO. Egedy spent his youth between that mountainous metropolis and hippy epicenter Santa Fe, NM.

This perhaps explains the amalgam of digital punk and desert-mystic elements of his sound today. The name “Technomancer” comes from a place where technology and magic meet, and can be defined as “someone who has a magical control over technology.”

Throughout the record, Egedy merges disparate worlds of thinking and action that can feel abrasive outside the world of Pictureplane. It’s important to note that his artistic license with language strives to be not only provocative, but also subversive.

“I’m really interested in the idea of reclaiming language or transforming language into different meanings that it’s not normally used in,” he explains. As we decode the Technomancer track “Esoterrorist,” he’s quick to point out that violent recent events are not something he endorses.

“I also came up with the term ‘shamanic violence.’ It’s like a violence that is sort of healing or something. So, it’s a like a play of these dualistic words basically, but positive violence is something that’s very interesting to me—and I’m not talking about killing people. I’m talking about more like violence that changes things in a positive way. And not always necessarily in a physical meaning of the word. Violence doesn’t necessarily have to mean bloodshed or something, it can mean more of like action,” he says.

Musically, the album is a blend of a wide array of influences.

“I was definitely influenced by a lot of dark-wave and cold-wave stuff, and like minimal synth music and a lot of industrial and kind of EBM sounds. Also hip-hop, I have a life long attraction to hip hop and rap music…a lot of old hardcore and rave music and like jungle music and like extreme forms of dance music from the ‘90s,” he says.

It sounds like a lot, and it is. But a listen to the album reveals its singular nature. It’s complicated and confrontational, but therein finds its power.

“I want to make people question things and question reality and authority, too…If there’s any goal of my music, it’s about self-empowerment, I think, and returning power back to the hands of the individual and of the people basically.”

In addition to his music, Egedy produces visual art as well as a clothing line under the label Alien Body. While each medium he takes on can look or sound a bit dark, he emphasizes that he’s “definitely an optimist, yeah. I like to see ideals and I have positive feelings towards the world and towards humanity.”

One thing Egedy is feeling positive about lately is his first ever opportunity to play in Canada. While he’s said that our nation’s borders toughness stands out among his travels, there might be a special reason why he’s pushed to play here in his near-decade of making music.

“It’s one of my dreams to get interviewed by Nardwuar,” he concludes.

Pictureplane performs at the Biltmore Cabaret on December 7.

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