Who is Pictureplane and Why Should You Care?

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Last fall my crew Love Bang brought Egyptian Lover to Shanghai for a live show and we packed out 390 Bar and had Mr. Egypt banging out beats on the 808, rapping, and dancing like a pharaoh at the same damn time. We don’t bring international acts in that often, but next week we’re linking up with our good friends Split Works to bring one of our favorite artists of recent years – Pictureplane. These shows are going down at two of the best venues in China – Arkham, Shanghai and Dada Bar, Beijing.

Wait, who is this bro? First off, he’s not a DJ, he’s a producer and he’s playing live and singing. Peep some of his tunes to start.

Pictureplane – Trance Doll

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Pictureplane – Gang Signs

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Emotional dance music made by a DIY punk kid. It all sounds like a rave in a computer junkyard after the end of the world. Genderless, high-tech, and neon, all with a coat of static and noise. The first PICTUREPLANE track I ever heard was his remix of HEALTH’s “Lost Time.” Years later I bought a used copy of his 2009 album Dark Rift oh a whim while record shopping in Kalamazoo.  I played that record non-stop for months and it’s still in heavy rotation.

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The sequel to that album, Thee Physical, came out in 2011 and sounds much bigger due to co-production by Jupiter Keyes, the guitarist from LA Noise Rock band HEALTH. This one further explores the weird links between technology, gender, emotion, and trance.

Pictureplane – Real Is A Feeling

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Pictureplane – Sex Mechanism

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PICTUREPLANE grew up playing in bands, and for several years lived in a Denver art community/DIY warehouse space called Rhinoceropolis before relocating to Brooklyn, where he’s working on his third album, releasing clothing lines with Mishka, remixing and producing for other artists, and frequently collaborating with peeps like GRIMES. A$AP Rocky and AraabMuzik showed up and played a set at his party.

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Pictureplane – Real Is A Feeling (GRIMES Remix)

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So he’s coming to China to play at Love Bang. We’re going all out with this – Pictureplane + three of Shanghai’s most on-point resident DJs, huge sound system, lights, inflatable animals, treats, errrrrythang.

March 7th @ Arkham Shanghai w/DJ Caution, Misloop, and Heatwolves

March 8th @ Dada Beijing w/DJ Caution and Heatwolves

Pre-sale tickets for the Shanghai show available over on SmartTicket. Get ‘em for cheap and somebody gonna deliver those tickets right to your door.

 

Heatwolves’ Castle At Lune, Feb 15 2014

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Yo world, here comes another rare event – Heatwolves’ Castle at Lune on Xinle Lu/Fumin Lu. The corner where the smiley, Gandolf-lookin’ hobo hangs out with beautiful ethnic women and sketchy dudes in hoodies pace around asking “weed, hashish…?” It’s the cousin of Yongfu Lu, with better food options.

I’m DJing all night up on the 4th floor, playing tracks that I might not play at Love Bang, which is more party-music oriented. Expect more left-field music, headnod beats, italo disco, 80s new wave, rock, weird samples, and Chinese music. Gonna bring a stack of vinyl out too.

That’s Saturday night, from ten till late. No cover.

 

 

 

 

Shanghai All-Stars @ The Shelter This Friday

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Aside from LOVE BANG I’ve also joined the Come Correct crew. We’re down at The Shelter playing hip hop every Wednesday and once a month on the weekend. That weekend date happens to be this Friday.  It’s the place to be for DJs, MCs, B-boys, B-girls, hip hop heads, music lovers, party monsters, and those who want to dance. We bring the best from Shanghai and around China straight down into the Shelter. More about the venue in this VICE article.

1月10号周五,上海最具影响力的HipHop地下团体Come Correct将请来SVBKLT厂牌的创始人Drunk Monk送上冬日特别曲目!妈妈都知道Shanghai All Stars是热爱HipHop小伙伴的天堂!本次还特别请到驾着七彩高铁来自杭州的D’Rocc,以及DJ Caution, Heatwolves, T-Plus和MC One Con!票价40,晚十点,不容错过!

This month we’ve got D’Rocc coming in from Hangzhou plus boss of the SVBKVLT/Sub-Culture Drunk Monk playing a hip hop set. It’s the only place in China you can catch a hip hop show like this so don’t complain about the 40RMB cover – that’s less than you’ll pay for a beer at most bars! See you at The Shelter on Friday.

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New No-English Mix by DJ Sal – Samba, Latin Bass, Kwaito, Cumbia

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New tunes from our good friend DJ Sal aka Skinny Brown, that time-traveling, ethnically ambiguous global mystic who hosts on Shanghai’s English TV channel and DJs from time to time at a party called Popasuda. Well he’s finally put together a mixtape for his night at Dada Bar tonight, and it’s free and a must grab.

There’s a million house music nights in China, but there’s only one Popasuda. This monthly party sounds like a mixtape that never leaves the player at a youth shelter in some post-colonial island in the tropics. His music policy is simple – no English lyrics. Patois doesn’t count as English in Sal’s world. Expect anything from Dancehall to Cumbia to some burgeoning African genre. Far from a culture vulture taking the best bits from distant lands, Sal grew up or lived in Brazil, Toronto, India, Japan, and lots of other places and he’s got a good understanding of this music. This is reflected in his mixing style – FAST mixing, lots of drops, lots of mic control, and a sampler for drumming out country names like “BRAZIL!!” in a Street Fighter II voice.

Sal describes the mix and the night as such:

“I’m dropping strictly tropical-global shit, with nothing in english. The mix starts with Brazilian Samba-type stuff, then moves into kwaito, cumbia-edits, random African stuff, global-trap, latin bass, and a whole world of international sounds”

GO GET IT. And check out the Popasuda party this Friday, November 15th.

 

 

Big Up #1 – Marcin and the Mini Film Night @ The Nut

Here’s a column dedicated to unadulterated positivity. In each “Big Up,” we’ll profile someone doing something cool in Shanghai that you should know about. This could be anyone from a treat shop worker to an artist, or a cat lady.

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In this first edition, we’re Big-Upping Marcin Gajewski from Holland via Poland, a dude whose videos you’ve likely seen in many a 19RMB cab ride. But you may not know the dude behind the lens. The Dude is an appropriate title for this character, known in real life as Mr. White, or more recently Mr. Grey, due to his odd and rigid insistence on only wearing one color. What would compel someone to wear only the color white for an entire decade, from coat to socks? We won’t examine that here, but we’ll get into Marcin’s work as a director and a curator through his monthly “Mini Film Fest” nights at The NUT, an art collective and space in Huangpu District, as well as an annual weekend-long film festival he puts on for free.

The monthly film night happens to fall on this Thursday,  November 14th at 7PM at 162 Yongnian Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu. 上海市永年路162号(靠近黄陂南路),一楼.  Don’t be that late bro! This month’s theme is technology. It’s non-profit, so free entry to a world where you can catch cheap beers/wine and watch some amazing short films you probably won’t catch anywhere else. There’s still loads of film and video that exists outside the cloud. There’s around ten films each time, with an intermission sesh and elaborate introductions by Mr. Grey. You’re likely to make some new friends here too, with lots of creative types, artists, architects, film nerds, and characters in the mix.

So if you’ve never been to these nights, your connection to Mr. Grey is probably those WOW! Fitness ads, called “WOW男WOW女” in the taxi ad- video machines. He directs those now. This series, shown on TouchMedia screens in Chinese taxis, stars two neon-clad exercise fiends seemingly on anti-depressants x speed and wilding-out in a public awareness campaign for healthy living through exercise and diet. Take the stairs, lift those water coolers, do some stretching, and eat some vegetables

For those without the pleasure, the taxi-riding-class AKA le bourgeoisie has watched and possibly tried to avoid this video series for years now in cab backseats in Shanghai and other major cities. The campaign took a surreal turn in April 2013 when Marcin became the director and introduced kung-fu and oil-swilling foes in a colorful video-game esque adventure . When the junk-food boss pops up with a chicken drummy of death, the common-man-turned hero devours an apple and hurls the core to win the healthy [sic]. Really these are the closest things to PSAs in our Shanghai life and wowever you feel about these loud ads, they’re memorable and preach a message anyone can agree on – eat healthy and exercise. Recently WOW! started seat-belt use ads too, a critical message in a place with creative driving.

Aside from directing PSAs* and guest lecturing at Tongji University on the Architecture Department in the ‘Filming Architectures’ course,  Marcin runs the aforementioned Mini Film Fest nights, which reel into a [also free] full-on weekend film festival once a year. The weekly film parties began at home years ago but eventually grew too big and now happen at The NUT, an art collective/gallery space that once lived in the last days of a  now-demolished 被拆了Jing An building. I remember early Thursday parties there and Simon from Austrailia DJing circa 2009.  In 2012 The NUT reemerged in what used to be  Luwan district, which was incorporated into Huangpu district in 2011. Lot of changes in Shanghai.

An evening at the Mini Film Fest night could witness anything from from French cartoons about cats and omlettes to rather disturbing and grim bits. These are the dubplates of shorts and dude has the guanxi in the film world to cop great selections. Past themes include “Life in the City,” “Animate!”, and “ Under Water Love.”

Once a year, the night becomes a full weekend – a proper miniature film festival in Jing An. I DJed an intermission at last year’s festival, which brought a really chill and diverse group of folks. All attendants went home with a wooden xiao long bao steamer and an apron to remember the food-themed weekend. Drinks were free and ice-cream sandwiches were sold. People laughed, cried, and just got super into it. I became Weibo friends with a girl selling organic eggs for charity. Just a free party to enjoy some quality films, out of sheer love for the art. And that’s why were Big-Upping Mr. White/Grey/Marcin this week.  Also he’s Polish by birth but grew up in Amsterdam from a young age – more proof that Dutch people are just really chill folks, not counting the conservative Dutch in Michigan. Big up Holland.

Mini Film Fest Night happens this Thursday at The Nut, 162 Yongnian Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu, a quick walk from Madang Lu metro station (Line 9).

More about Marcin’s work as a filmmaker and photographer over on his website. He doesn’t exclusively do PSAs, sadly.

And a more in-depth article from 2011 about the WOW series, before Marcin took over, read this article in advertising language.

Big up!

Nov 9: The Egyptian Lover Live in Shanghai

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On Nov. 9th Love Bang presents a once in a lifetime opportunity

To see The Egyptian Lover,

The King of The Freaks,

Play Live in Shanghai.

A true old school party as we go back to 1984

With Egyptian Lover playing a Vinyl DJ set and banging out live beats on a vintage 808

While rapping

and busting out a Dance Routine.

It’s Not Just A Man,

It’s an Adventure.

Egypt Is The Place To Be.

Egyptian Lover – Dial-A-Freak

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That Mystic – An interview with producer Kingdom from Fade to Mind

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If you often read this site or go out to the Love Bang parties, you know we’re massive fans of Kingdom, the LA-based producer who makes dark, R&B-infused electronic music that sounds just as good through headphones on your bed as it does through subwoofers in the club. His HD productions are richer than eighteen-layer cake, punctuated with literally a kingdom of sounds, from phone rings to screams. It’s super high-definition music that combines bits of rave, dancehall, diva-vocals, vogue, various strains of club music, and of course that Masters at Work “Ha” sample.

He’s also on two of our favorite labels, Night Slugs and Fade To Mind, which Kingdom started in LA with friends Nguzunguzu, Total Freedom, and Prince William as a sister label to the mighty Night Slugs.

Ahead of his two shows in Shanghai this weekend, one at the Wood and Wires festival and another at The Shelter, I interviewed Kingdom via email about the intersection of  underground and pop music, album art, and what we can expect at The Shelter tomorrow night.

But before you get into the reading, I suggest throwing this mix on, which really exemplifies exactly how Kingdom melts the underground and pop worlds together into something beautiful.

Heatwolves: For those out there who don’t know you, could you please introduce yourself real quick and briefly describe your sound?

Kingdom: You can just use my short bio:

“A leader in the new wave of American producers, L.A.-based DJ and label head Kingdom (aka Ezra Rubin) has built considerable influence with both his formidable discography and the output from his own imprint, Fade to Mind. Since 2007, his distinctively bittersweet productions—deep synths, R&B vocals, and apocalyptic drums—have coalesced into a spacious, meta­dimensional sound has become a major voice in club music worldwide. While living in New York he quickly gained a following thanks to his signature DJ sets which merged R&B, hip-hop, grime, rave, and subwoofer experiments. Critical acclaim for his early EPs Mind Reader (Fool’s Gold), That Mystic, and Dreama (Night Slugs) took him from NY to LA in 2010 to form new label Fade to Mind with close friends and collaborators Nguzunguzu, Total Freedom, and Prince William. He quickly expanded the roster to include such diverse artists as ballroom legend MikeQ and Kuwaiti­-born composer Fatima Al Qadiri. This year has seen Kingdom release a new 7-song EP, ‘Vertical XL’ (with lead single “Bank Head” featuring Kelela), and also curate and contribute production to the freshly released Cut 4 Me mixtape by Fade to Mind songstress Kelela.”

Heatwolves: In a recent interview you said “Female vocal R&B has been more or less absent from mainstream radio for about 5 years now so it’s just about to come back really strong. Our new project with Kelela is going to help with that.” Can your music become mainstream? I feel like that’s what you’re going for, especially on your solo releases, with tracks like “Let U No,” “Take Me,” and “Bank Head.” What’s your ultimate goal with music?

Kingdom: I will never do just one thing, though I do want to make pop music. My music is still experimental also. I’ve always played with going back and forth between the two. Female vocals have been pretty absent from the charts lately but it’s on its way back already. The reception of the Kelela mixtape proves that.

Heatwolves: You’re on mini-tour of Asia, with stops in Korea, Japan, and China. What promoted this? Have you played in Asia before?

Kingdom: I’ve played twice in Tokyo before and once in Seoul. This trip was prompted by the Tokyo booking first, which was a awesome show with a shop in Toyko called GR8, and then we built the other Asia shows around that.

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Heatwolves: The cover art for your Vertical XL EP was done by Shanghai-based Kim Laughton (ROM / Stockholm Syndrome) – How did you two link and what’s the story behind that album cover? Great cover art, it reminds me of the last scenes in Akira or an arms scrapyard.

Kingdom: Jude from the Thunderhorse collective recommended Kim to me, it was fun collaborating with him on that! I wanted the cover art to depict a rural / post-industrial abduction. Levitation and ancient ruins were also inspirations. I made a Photoshop mockup and Kim created all the renderings and added a bunch of the details.

Heatwolves: I read in another interview that you love driving. Why is that? What do you listen to in the car? Do you test tracks in the car? Do you have any  classic CDRs that have stayed in car-rotation through the years?

Kingdom: Living in LA for three years has drained that love a little bit sadly. Driving becomes just part of every day life. I think I romanticized it a little in NY because it was so novel. I still like longer trips though and driving in the suburbs. I listen to Electrik Red’s album “How to be a Lady” and some old CDs I used to DJ off of, and “The Claw” CDR, a Fade to Mind CD of live improvised collaborations between me, Nguzunguzu, and Total Freedom.

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Heatwolves: Speaking of driving, you live in LA now – can people make a decent living playing strictly music like what you and the Fade To Mind Crew play in LA?  Do you work a day job too? Do you DJ in LA or out of LA more? I’ve been to a Night Slugs party but never Fade To Mind – what are your nights like?

Kingdom: You can make a living doing anything if you try, work, have something interesting to say, or something that people wanna hear. I DJ more outside of LA more, in NYC, Canada, and Europe. We have built a solid scene in LA though. Our parties are dark and foggy, loud club music, cute people.

Heatwolves:Will that Masters At Work “Ha” sound ever get old? Or does that get a special pass?

Kingdom: It gets a special pass.

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Heatwolves: Your tracks always sound really polished and hit hard, even the earlier releases. What do you produce with now, and what did you produce “That Mystic” with?

Kingdom: I use Ableton Live, and I’m also recording from some keyboards and drum machines. All of my Eps before “Vertical XL” were all made on my 12” Macbook in my living room. For Vertical XL I set up a studio with more equipment.

 

Heatwolves: What is this Moleskin “Turnt On” track on your XLR8R innovator mixtape? Shit is crazy. Also, this is an “Innovator Series” mixtape – what exactly is your area of innovation?

Kingdom: Moleskin is a great new producer from the UK. I’m not sure what the innovator thing is for the mix series but I think I helped bring R&B and club music together in a new way around 2008. I was playing UK club music in NY before most people got into it there, mixing it with rap and R&B and dancehall I was hearing on local NY radio.

Heatwolves: I heard you have a ton of edits for shows that you don’t release – how many do you think you’ve done total? What do you make edits with? Can we expect a lot of those at the Shanghai show?

Kingdom: Yes, edits are my lifeblood. Total Freedom makes a lot of the ones I play at the shows too. I’ve probably made hundreds of edits, its hard to keep track, they are temporary objects.

Cassie – All My Love (Kingdom Edit)

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Heatwolves: What’s the worst experience/craziest story you’ve had at a gig, e.g. stolen bag, gang fight on dancefloor?

Kingdom: Shitty speakers and empty dancefloors… We’ve all been there.

Heatwolves: What are your top five female R&B songs? And also your top five favorite Hip Hop songs.

Kingdom: I truly can not play favorites. I would prefer to list some that are on my mind lately:

Tink “Somebody Else”, Schoolboy Q “Collared Greens”, Jhene Aiko’s part on Drake’s “From Time”, Asap Ferg “Hood Pope”, Kelela “Enemy”.

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Heatwolves: What’s next after this Asia tour?

Kingdom: Back to LA, doing the Nguzunguzu “Skycell” release party there on the 8th, and working on my next release for Night Slugs in my studio.

Heatwolves: Finally, what do you wanna say to peeps in Shanghai who haven’t heard of you yet?

Kingdom: If there’s Soundcloud in Shanghai they should listen to some stuff to get them ready! http://www.soundcloud.com/kkingdomm and http://www.soundcloud.com/fadetomind

And even better, head over to iTunes and buy his excellent Vertical XL EP and download the Kelela mixtape for free.
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Don’t miss Kingdom DJing at The Shelter on Saturday, Nov 2. 2013 with support by Mood Supply, Beardslap, and yrs truly. It’s only 60RMB – you’d be a fool to pass this up.