Travis Egedy is the Technomancer. You'll know him as Pictureplane, the Brooklyn-based multimedia artist whose forays against the status quo have disrupted fashion, galleries, and music in kind. While his 2011 album, Thee Physical, explored sensation and human touch, his newest dives into more ethereal territory: the anxiety of daily life in an era defined by constant technological interaction and observation. But the 11 songs heard here — fleshed out using sonic scraps of industrial, darkwave, '80s EBM, '90s house — aren't purely paranoiac. As the title implies, Technomancer is as much about rediscovering the magic in our relationship with our machines.
"Sick Machine" opens the album with squelching retrofuturist synth and thick fuzzy bass, quickly taking a hard left into bounding bleak-pop as Egedy coos about finding euphoria in the ruins of shopping malls. A song later, over the sampled rap snippets and diva moans of "Esoterrorist," he declares, "I'm feeling paranormal again," and it sounds less like lament than a return to Pictureplane's comfort zone. "Harsh Realm" similarly celebrates "anarchy and ecstasy" while wild drum and bass rhythms weave through a surging sequence. He aims lines at an unseen colluder — "Fuck me like you mean it" — hurtling through thick aural atmosphere toward the song's titular place.
Technomancer was recorded across three years in Egedy's garage, then finished in proper studios in New York and Los Angeles. He was also touring the world with the likes of Major Lazer and Crystal Castles, exhibiting his visual art in galleries abroad, and reading the works of Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock, men whose research in alt archaeology and ancient tech may help unlock truths about where humankind has been and, more importantly, where we're headed. The two tracks featuring Skin Town's Grace Hall ("Self Control," "Live Forever") deal with a controversial future that may already be upon us: where reality, even mortality, is able to be engineered.
But for all the eerie Vangelis-style ambiance ("Chaos Radical"), warped rave oddity ("Joyrider"), and distressing mechanized clang ("Death Condition"), Pictureplane's latest is best defined by its title track. "Technomancer" finds our host grabbing the reigns of the beast, and suggesting that we do the same: "Manipulate your machine," he sings over an electronic score that feels positively alive, "You're a technomancer."
*colored vinyl *