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.

 

WHAT’S GOOD IN SHANGHAI THIS WEEKEND? Aug 9th – 11th 周末有啥好的?

WHAT’S REALLY GOOD IN SHANGHAI THIS WEEKEND???

gothic picnic

Ok let’s keep this really short and simple, but before we get into anything coming up, peep this insane live recording from the VOID six-year anniversary at The Shelter last Saturday. Sadly I didn’t make it but apparently this was one of the biggest Shelter nights in a long, long time. Alright here you go, an hour of raw old-school techno by Shanghai Ultra. No EDM in here mate.

Love live recordings from sweatbox clubs. Moving into the future, here’s what’s good this weekend.

FRIDAY NIGHT

HIP HOP – You already know, Hip Hop Hijack at The Geisha is the spot to be on Fridays for all that Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Tyga, etc. Plus they’re joined by my right-hand man DJ Caution this month. The Geisha probably hates me but I love this night. Not mad.

ELECTRONIC – Yrs truly playing at Lune with special guest DJ from Spain Lupen Crokan. When I hear the name Lupen I can’t help but think of Lupin III, the infamous manga/anime thief. Kinda wish that Lupin III was DJing at Lune, but we still get this dude from Barcelona. Peep the recording from his set at Dada Beijing last weekend. It’s free entry all night at 218 Xinle Lu, right by 88.

WTF – Really curious about this “secret rave,” its borderline racist flyer, and not-secret-at-all location in Xuhui. But hey, I’m all for outdoor events so whatever. “Rave” and “secret” are the newest entries to the Shanghai doublespeak dictionary.

SATURDAY

POOL PARTY – Yep, Love Bang Pool Party #3 with Baijiu Robot, AKA Mau Mau x yrs truly, Choyce Kutz, and DJ Caution. Weather forecast says 104 degrees! Don’t worry we’ve got an indoor area with AC too if you need to chill for a bit. Remember it’s only 80RMB before noon.

TICT JAM – Another secret party! God damn. This one starts at 3PM and it’s somewhere secret. Address released at 10PM tonight. These dudes always pull off high quality events, and i’m gonna try to stop by this one at some point.

THE HOMIE SAL GETTING MARRIED – Hey you probably know Sal, aka DJ Skinny Brown from Popasuda. He’s one of my good friends in Shanghai and he’s getting married tmmr night. If you know dude, give him a call and see what’s up with the wedding or just give him some congratulations. I’ve never seen a mixed Indian/Chinese kid but with this couple it’s bound to be beautiful.

STORYTELLING – Alright I don’t know much about this but I support storytelling and 390 Bar. Plus I like the name Mama Gushi. Sounds like a good start to a Saturday night. Here’s what the organizer said on Reddit: “Join us for another evening of hilarious, inspiring and true stories as our storytellers share their intimate life experiences with our audience! Our all-star line up of the best raconteurs in Shanghai is coming together to share their stories of intoxication.” Starts at 8PM sharp at 390 Panyu Lu with 2-for-1 drinks.

HOUSE MUSIC – Ok you’ve got two great choices, both on Xingfu Lu. One is a night by my old friend Mau Mau’s new crew Yo! Banfa over at Dada, and then right down the street we’ve got the UK squad Push And Pull at Logo. Expect bass house a la Dirtybird Records at Dada and more UK Gar-age and Jackin’ down at Logo.

SOME OTHER SHIT – This Gothic Shanghai Victorian Night Picnic sounds amazing. I may just leave the pool party to go peep this down the street in Xujiahui Park.

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HIP HOP – Ok it’s not exactly hip hop but pretty close. Nosaj Thing at Arkham – fucking great booking. I saw dude play at Logo like four years ago before he really blew up, and it’s still one of the best electronic shows I’ve ever seen. Classic tune right here.

And this one he produced for Chance The Rapper

Alright that’s all. Maybe Sunday you can check out Monsters University if it’s made its way through the two month censorship process yet. See you in the pool.

Hip Hop in China: Some thoughts on last night at Arkham

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Crawl thru the SmartShanghai trenches and you’ll find options. That’s good. A city this big needs options and competition – that’s the only way the scene and individuals can progress. For a long time, I couldn’t believe that Shanghai had only one weekly hip hop night (Come Correct every Wednesday at The Shelter – a night I’m affiliated with), then I saw this on the world wide web yesterday:

“Are u miss some purely hip-hop shit and the real dance floor? Who killed it?
We don’t give a f**k those fake hip-hop lover!
Now, all of this will be changed again! Since we decided to rock the city
in Hip-hop again!
Whether you were a O.G of golden age or a rookie of the new generation
You can’t miss every Thursday night’s Black Bubble Party at Arkham
Purely hipster hip-hop music all night
The hottest dance floor in town
Coolest party folks and chicks
Every thursday night!Black Bubble @ Arkham, See U!!!”

Well, they decided to rock the city so I went down and gotta say I was impressed with the turnout. At least 100 local kids down there, looking very fashion with lots of streetwear. Lots of fake chains/ropes, lots of Jordans (admittedly this is not unique to shanghai hip hop shows). But the vibe felt like 2007 when Windows Jing An used to play hip hop on Friday/Saturday nights before they swept up the African dealers and South-East Asian hooks. Not exactly an old-school Muse 1 vibe but pretty damn close.

The warm-up DJ’s music selection was aight, featuring everything from Slick Rick’s “Lodi Dodi,” 2 Chainz, and Kendrick Lamar to Beyonce “Crazy in Love” and DMX “Party Up.” But the programming (song order) and file quality were off. Way off at times, like Gang Star-into-Skrillex off, plus a lot of MCing and “put your hands up” -isms. I didn’t stick around long enough to see Choyce Kutz play though so maybe it got better. Who was there? Lots of rich Shanghainese kids, some of them some poppin or lockin I can’t tell the difference, but most standing around. Someone burned my girlfriend with a cigarette and didn’t apologize. A few foreigners were gettin down. Basically a fashion, fu er dai (rich second generation) crowd though, and not a particularly polite or friendly one. To be fair, hip hop and grime nights around the world aren’t exactly known for the politeness and good behavior of their patrons, and this is definitely not the only place I’ve seen rude peeps out lately, but bumping into peeps or burning them w/cigs back home and not saying sorry, at a hip hop night, would not go down well. Can’t do nothin’ bout it here though, especially as a foreigner.

Does hip hop objectively have more posers than any other scene?

Anyone who cares about the music scene in China wants to see more local kids coming out to shows and enjoying music. But one can’t help but feeling a little disappointed with the there-to-be-scene and so fashion crowd. I know cool locals who come out to nights who aren’t so fashion and just wanna hear good music and dance, and some cool kids who don’t go out at all. This fashionista problem isn’t unique to China and anyway, it’s hard to judge a club night on it’s first night, but that does set the tone. Maybe it will become a community vibe like Come Correct someday. I don’t know. Nights take a long time to build, and who knows if Arkham will even be open in six months.

Anyway, let’s be happy for the competition and options, and happy that a local crew  started a hip hop night in a venue where you can dance. That’s honestly refreshing in a town where most club nights are run by foreigners and big clubs like Muse and 88 suck. Maybe this will inspire someone else to be like “hey I like hip hop but I’m not so fashion” and start their own thing. You know, reactions.

Notes: Hip Hop Hijack does a weekly party at The Geisha (tip! it’s always a good spot to hit on Fridays and goes late) but that just became a weekly party fairly recently, after years of bigger one-off events, whereas Come Correct has been going on weekly at The Shelter for well over a year.