The “Powerhouse” live show premieres 16/17th January at Berghain
Today Planningtorock releases their radical fourth album Powerhouse via Human Level / DFA Records. 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. Listen to the album on Spotify, also available to stream and buy via this link.
To accompany the new album release, Planningtorock has been busy writing and producing the new Powerhouse live show. Through storytelling, personally filmed biographical videos, spoken word, dance, stage design and lighting, Planningtorock wanted to create a show that is not only a concert but an intimate musical live experience that creates empathy and reflection, joy and comfort together with the audience. The show will feature all the songs from the Powerhouse album and further showcase new songs that Planningtorock has written especially for the event. Performing together with Planningtorock will be a cast of talented queer, non binary and trans identifying performers, both disabled and able bodied; the choreographer and dancer Ian Kaler and the dancers / performers Maija Karhunen and Ambrita Sunshine.
The show has been co-produced by the Schauspiel Theatre in Leipzig and Berghain Berlin and will premiere in Berlin 16th and 17th January 2019 then the 20th January at La Gaite Lyrique Paris with further shows in Dresden, Munich, London and New York, TBA.
The full Powerhouse live show will be preceded by an album release party, with the Transmissions Transgender Apocalypse club event at Vogue Fabrics Dalston in London on 10th November.
Live Dates 2019, more to be announced soon
10 Nov - London album release party, Transmissions Transgender Apocalypse, VFD Tickets
16-17 Jan - Powerhouse Live, Berlin, Berghain Tickets
20 Jan - Powerhouse Live, Paris, La Gaîté Lyrique Tickets
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 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.
The Powerhouse album features three single releases, each accompanied by a video directed by Planningtorock.
Beulah Loves Dancing - with its lilting synths, a self-amused narration by Rostron and a video featuring their mother and sister, this single is a playful, four-on-the-floor ode to their sister Beulah.
Much To Touch - a funky, flute-laced gem, the only track on Powerhouse to feature a co-producer, long-time friend and collaborator Olof Dreijer of The Knife. With the video, Planningtorock delves deeper with the notion of ‘muchness’ in collaboration with Maija Karhunen, the Finnish dancer and editor of dance art platform Liikekieli.com
Transome - a seductive lead track full of attitude and swag, it’s the sexiest Planningtorock song to date with lyrics about sex and desires, their intimate encounters and non binary genderqueer identity.
Human Level / DFA
Planningtorock - Powerhouse
Release Date: 9th November 2018
Formats: 12” / CD / Digital
3. Dear Brother
4. Somethings More Painful Than Others
5. Much To Touch
6. Jam Of Finland
7. Non Binary Femme
8. Piece Of My Mind
9. Beulah Loves Dancing
10. Power House
Stream ‘Powerhouse’ LP on Spotify