Hilary Turns 30

Hilary Turns 30

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For her landmark birthday, I gave Hilary a fair trade scarf, metal heart (mexican-inspired) and lemon ginger dark chocolate from Flavours of Life in New London. Her birthday was a wonderful tribute to a friend of 15 years and the loyal friendship we share. xo!

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Planningtorock declares “all love’s legal, you can’t illegalize love” on 3rd full-length

planningtorock

Planningtorock
All Love’s Legal
(Human Level)
8/10

Words by
AMY PETTIFER

Published in
LOUD AND QUIET 55 JANUARY 2014

All Love’s Legal by Planningtorock

As progressive as we might think the landscape of contemporary music is, it’s not until someone pipes up in the plainest terms that you realise what a Micky Mouse operation it is. We can learn nothing from Disney Channel alumni whose messages of emancipation are twerked rather than tweaked – we need people like Jam (formerly Janine) Rostron to take definitions further and queer the pitch, as she does literally on her third album of straight-from-the-heart, four-to-the-floor killers.

Much like John Maus, whose ‘Rights for Gays’ beats a comparative path, Rostron knows that the best way to get your message across is to embrace the language of capitalism i.e. an instantaneous, hook heavy soundtrack crammed with messages that stick fast in your head; gender’s just a lie and fall in love with whoever you want to are the blazons of her campaign. The Judith Butler of the electronic underground calls for Public Love Respect over effervescing sub bass and skittering beats, while also darkening her euphoric message with a sense of struggle via the electronic caterwaul and scramble of ‘Mysogyny Drop Dead’ and ‘Beyond Binary Binds’.

On this record, PLANNINGTOROCK boldly fulfils its potential, heads up the charge and doles out the kind of revolutionary anthemics we need right now and in the days to come.

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PITCHFORK REVIEW

Planningtorock‘s message of gender equality and sexual freedom on All Love’s Legal seems simplistic and dated at first. But in 2014, the simplest messages are often the most urgent ones. Western media coverage of the Sochi Oympics has brought attention to Russian anti-gay violence and legislation. But we’re also sharing a planet with at least five countries where even vaguely defined homosexual behavior is worthy of the death penalty. Jam Rostron, the multimedia artist behind Planningtorock, sings “You can’t illegalize love” on the title track onAll Love’s Legal. That slogan could fit on a t-shirt, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nuance isn’t translating so well today.

Rostron’s musical work, a kind of art-house house, has always been a smart platform for direct intentions. Her debut album Have It All laid down the small set of tools—violin, keyboards, drum machine, heavily processed vocals—that she would also use on her followupW. Setting aside Rostron’s collaboration with the KnifeTomorrow, in a Year, she’s only gotten better at the balance. On All Love’s Legal she refines further, adding or subtracting beats and strings until finding the right tension between her unambiguous gender politics and her unknowable voice.

Despite the sparse instrumentation and arrangement, Rostron’s songs evoke huge, cavernous spaces. By manipulating the attack and echo on her strings and synths, she creates the clouds of theatrical fog that cling to the melody on “Human Drama”. You can hear the empty stage surrounding her. The bass and drums songs, like “Misogyny Drop Dead” and “All Love’s Legal”, drift out of sync, tugging at each other and galloping separately. Even the most straightforward dance track, the irresistibly in-sync “Let’s Talk About Gender Baby”, feels off, but in a good way. Rostron repeats the titular phrase over her usual brooding bass line, but she extends the syllables a little too long, slurring her words on either the world’s most self-aware dancefloor or your college’s drunkest women’s studies discussion section.

Even artists that resist sex and gender classification will adopt genre conventions when making their music. Putting aside the creator, the lyrics, or even the voice, there’s something that seems unidentifiable in All Love’s Legal. The instrumentation is neither pretty nor ugly, human or not human, masculine nor feminine. Rather than trading on identification (“I’m just like you, you’re just like me!”), Rostron opts for alienation. It’s a bold strategy—the impersonality of the music prohibits anyone from rejecting the message and accepting the messenger. There’s no distinction between the two.

All Love’s Legal isn’t as bleak as all that, though. There’s an organic, humanistic ethos operating behind her music: we are all people, and we’re all moved by the same primal passions and stimuli. Planningtorock as a multimedia project is committed to pushing that idea as far as it can go. It’s undanceable dance music sung by an arid, semi-digitized voice. It asks you to abandon the kind of categorical thinking that divides man from woman and gay from straight. This sounds like the kind of message that pop music has come to embrace. But rather than deliver that message in an instantly metabolized treacle-pop ballad or an arena-ready club anthem, Rostron’s music demands that you confront what abandoning deeply-entrenched ways of thinking about gender and desire would actually feel like—it doesn’t sound too comfortable, and it shouldn’t. (This is, by the way, the ocean that separates “Same Love” from Planningtorock’s “Public Love”.) Gender may be a “lie,” as Rostron sings on “Human Drama”, but it’s a lie that, for most people, rests at the core of our sense of self. So if we’re truly going to come together, Rostron seems to say, we’re going to have to come undone first.

Ellen Page Defeats the Social Norm Beast

There are pervasive stereotypes which take over our society as to gender roles, and how we must fit into them. Ms. Page reminds us that the world would be so much better if we were so much less horrible to each other. In this world we are all human beings, trying to live a life of fulfillment and happiness. Let’s start treating each other with the compassion we deserve. Ellen. I applaud you with putting yourself out there to foster the boost needed for those of us finding our way in a world that can be cruel and unforgiving

Snowed-In Weekend – with Jumi, Sean & Ayumi

texture

texture

Being snowed in with Thibaut’s friends Jumi and Sean with their daughter Ayumi was a cozy retreat with french cheese, champagne, brown sugar-glazed salmon, quinoa with brussels sprouts and raisins, and butternut squash. Ayumi served endless tea, cupcakes and waffles all night and in the morning (after we had real waffles,) Thibaut & I read her favorite stories and taught her how to draw a duck. It was a pleasure meeting such kind and generous people.

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The arcade is now open!

The arcade is now open!

Vintage shop

Vintage shop

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mural 1

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mural 2

An artisan shop with amazing silkscreens and other locally made art

An artisan shop with amazing silkscreens and other locally made art

Jumi with a hiding Ayumi

Jumi with a hiding Ayumi

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Snowed in with cheese galore, with champagne

Snowed in with cheese galore, with champagne

winter's blue hue

winter’s blue hue

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Jumi's salad dressing maker mixes the ingredients together - as Thibaut would say: "Whaaaaaaaaaaat?"

Jumi’s salad dressing maker mixes the ingredients together – as Thibaut would say: “Whaaaaaaaaaaat?”

Getting ready

Getting ready

Sean with his delcious  glazed salmon.

Sean with his delcious glazed salmon.

Ayumi comes around and serves endless tea.

Ayumi comes around and serves endless tea.

Man, is that good tea.

Man, is that good tea.

Hi, ho - Cherrio!

Hi, ho – Cherry-o!

Giraffe?! Giraffe!

Giraffe?! Giraffe!

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Dessert

Dessert

New Year Baby Dessert

New Year Baby Dessert

The cat came to see Thibaut and his injured finger

The cat came to see Thibaut and his injured finger

Our room has planets that glow in the dark... (guess what I was staring at all night).

Our room has planets that glow in the dark… (guess what I was staring at all night).

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Would you like some pancakes?

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Ayumi gets shy again

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Reading with Thibaut

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The Itsy-Bitsy Spider with Andy

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Teaching her to draw a chicken from the book Thibaut brought.

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Morning Chill

waving goodbye

waving goodbye

Valentine’s Day Dinner

Valentine's Day Dinner

Valentine’s Day with Thibaut included flatbread 2 ways (pesto/potato/caramelized onion/gorgonzola; ground turkey / roasted  pepper / burgundy marinara / cheddar,) plus a french chocolate torte with currants & mascarpone for desert – with the classic film The Red Shoes… No overpriced fixed meals, or waiting for a table … This restaurant also had a very handsome waiter.  ; )  ❤

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A Woman with Precision

  • Planningtorock

    “Patriarchy Over and Out”

    DFA / Human Level

    By 

    Laura Snapes

On August 1, Planningtorock‘s Janine Rostron plays the Southbank Centre in London as part of Antony‘s Meltdown Festival. The line-up represents Anthony’s “Future Feminism” approach, in which he and the group of New York City artists with whom he associates himself “reject patriarchy in its myriad virulent and apocalyptic manifestations, [advocating] for a fundamental shift towards feminism in all our systems and structures of governance.” Rostron’s new single, “Patriarchy Over and Out”, is the epitome of the beat to which Antony marches.

And what a beat: the first single to be released on Rostron’s DFA imprint, Human Level, initially sticks so tightly to the grid that it’s as if someone sent an electronic charge up a pristine chickenwire fence, crackling, hissing and buzzing in threatening fashion. It’s militantly precise, and Rostron’s masculine, operatic demands are cold and mantra-like: “I don’t want to wait/ Patriarchal life, you’re out of date/ Patriarchal life, get out of the way.” Three-quarters of the way through the song, the grid melts away to a rueful glow, and Rostron’s vocals become more emotional, more human and imploring. It’s as if the song strips away a common perception of feminism– exacting and militant– to show the basic human cry for equality beneath. A deeply persuasive, beautiful single.