Thee Physical is Denver-based dark-electro producer Travis Egedy’s sophomore LP as Pictureplane, and from the album art onward, it’s an effort that seems fascinated with showing the sensual in electronics. With track titles like “Body Mod”, “Post Physical”, “Sex Mechanism”, and “Techno Fetish”, Egedy isn’t pulling any punches, and his music follows suit, mashing together pieces of house, R&B, dark rock, and techno into whatever danceable shape happens to result. With HEALTH buddy Jupiter Keyes on board as co-producer, Egedy manages to string together some of that misfitting, loose-end conceptualizing, cobbling together some more cohesive tracks.
From album opener “Body Mod” on, the interaction between live vocals and samples plays a prominent role. The high energy beat may be the foreground, but the fuzzy, high-arcing samples and Egedy’s own enthusiastic, wiry vocals push the whole thing forward. Rather than being another spacey, edgy dance track, it’s a structured song, almost radio-friendly. “Black Nails” follows in that same vein but is a little closer to sounding like Depeche Mode during the long, airy bridges.
The relationship that Pictureplane has to HEALTH is a telling one for both bands. Egedy’s remixes have shown up on both of HEALTH’s DISCO albums, while the LA noise rockers have covered Pictureplane’s “Goth Star”. And although HEALTH have always been vocal proponents of dance music, their newer material has incorporated it more clearly into their bursts of noise. At the same time, Egedy’s tightness with HEALTH’s music seems to recognizably be entering his music more and more. The big, aching synth sections of “Post Physical”, and the wavering, filtered effect drenched over album closer “Thee Power Hand” are entirely reminiscent of Get Color. In this co-mingling and co-influencing, both acts have gained a new strength. Thee Physical is music ready for a dance floor (just as much as past Pictureplane releases have been), but it’s also a disc that shows growth towards a better ability to blend the synthetic and the organic.