Taken from radical fourth album “Powerhouse”, due for release 9th November via Human Level / DFA
Rostron says of the song: “It’s because of Beulah that I know anything about dance music. Her passionate love of house music back in the 90s literally shook our house for years and simultaneously gave her a safe space to live out the difficulties of living in a society ignorant to differently abled people. Beulah loves the song and after listening, laughing, she reminded me that I’d forgotten to mention the time when a picture fell off the wall and hit the TV.”
This follows the recent release of the funky, flute-laced “Much To Touch” with a video featuring Maija Karhunen, the Finnish dancer and editor of dance art platform Liikekieli.com and the playful, seductive lead track Transome. All three videos were directed by Planningtorock.
Powerhouse marks the Berlin-via-Bolton producer’s most intimate album to date, a kinetic, self-produced record flush with attitude, humour, vulnerability and swagger.
W, Planningtorock’s critically acclaimed 2011 debut on DFA, revealed a visionary and politicised producer. It offered up deeply queered art-pop – tense, atmospheric dance music cut with classical flourishes, and spell-binding androgyny. But it was 2014’s All Love’s Legal (“a masterclass in left-of-centre dance music”, Mixmag), released on Rostron’s own imprint Human Level, where Planningtorock, with banner-ready slogans (‘Patriarchy Over And Out’, ‘Let’s Talk About Gender Baby’), revealed their ability to combine pop-oriented music with a political message. Powerhouse offers up something infinitely more personal: emotionally-charged, biographical anthems drawn from Rostron’s lived experiences as a non-binary genderqueer artist, experiences around family, identity and music itself.
Powerhouse was written and recorded across Berlin, London, New York and Los Angeles. It comes couched in the precision-tooled synths that have become Rostron’s signature, though critics and fans will hear a subtle, ear worm-y shift in style here: from the Noughties US r&b swagger of ‘Transome’ and the bubbling oldschool ‘90s house of ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’ and ‘Non Binary Femme’, to the funky, flute-laced ‘Much To Touch’, the only track on Powerhouse to feature a co-producer, long-time friend and collaborator Olof Dreijer of The Knife.
The striking, pitched-down vocals that shook fans of W are as radiant as ever on Powerhouse. It was pitching that gave Rostron’s then-hidden inner self an authentic, external voice; and it was pitching that enabled them to come out, beginning “this long, complex and very much still evolving process of living their non-binary genderqueer self”. For Rostron, pitching became the sonic embodiment of taking T (testosterone). Listen closely, for example, to the lyrics on W’s ‘Doorway’ and you’ll see a through-line connecting that song with the refrain on Powerhouse’s ‘Jam of Finland’: “I feel a transformation in me / All those empty spaces in me / Are filling up with me…”
Ultimately, Powerhouse is a celebration of liberation, a groove-filled record that sees Rostron consolidating power both personal and artistic.
Live Dates 2019, more to be announced soon
10 Nov - London album release party, Transmissions, VFD Tickets
16-17 Jan - Berlin, Berghain Tickets
20 Jan - Paris, La Gaîté Lyrique Tickets
Watch the new video for ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’ here