Pleasure Technicians
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Pleasure Technicians

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


http://post-gazette.com/pg/04121/308616.stm

By Ed Masley, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pleasure Technicians have gone through some changes since the late 2002 release of "Mistakes Machines Make."

They've tightened their writing, turning their back on the 8-minute pop song.

They've soaked up more Radiohead than anyone this side of Coldplay's practice space.

And that machine that used to be their drummer? It's been replaced on much of "Euthanasia Daydream" by a human, although frontman Jay Valentich, who still programs that drum machine, is quick to note that "Bluffing," the last of four songs on the new EP, has no live drums.

"So we still have a programmed element there," he says. "And it's great because our drummer doesn't mind at all. ... He isn't one of those guys who's like 'Well, I can play that.' It's like, 'Yeah, but that's not the idea. You can play a beat like that. But it won't sound like that. We want the programmed element in this track.' And he's totally open to that."

It doesn't hurt that the drummer, Matt Miller, was a fan of what the band sounded like before they had a drummer.

So how has bringing in a drummer changed the band?

"The biggest thing," Valentich replies with a laugh, "is one more person to yell out. Really, though, I think the biggest thing is we can write songs faster now. When you do a program thing, you kind of have a lot of things you have to get around before you can actually get into the writing of the song, whereas now, I can sit down and start playing a chord progression and he can be right there. My new drum machine."

As for sounding like Radiohead, Valentich doesn't even try to hide it.

"That would probably be the most blatant thing that anyone would hear," he says. "And anyone who knows us knows that everybody in the band is extremely influenced by Radiohead."

He also cites U2 and Pink Floyd, both of which are clearly present in their sound.

"You say that and people are like, 'Oh, these guys are saying they sound like Pink Floyd,' but it's more in the way we're using some of the electronic instruments," Valentich says. "They were pioneers and we've just kind of taken that idea of not just making a rock band two guitars, a bass and a set of drums and some guy up there wailing vocally. We try and use some of the soundscapes and electronic influence and implement them more into a song-oriented base."

On "Sly Move," the opening track of the new EP, the sound is closer to the Big Beat side of electronica, but as the disc progresses, things get mellower and more ethereal, less likely to appeal to hardcore dance fans.

But that's never been their target audience.

"I think the people that have been attracted to us are fans of music that kind of has some electronic vibe with some of what Radiohead did on their past records," Valentich says. "Our big thing with music is that everybody in the band just wants to keep evolving. And I think this is just part of the process. The beat thing is something that we did and probably will do again, more programmed stuff. Maybe on the next one. Who knows? Maybe we'll make an all-acoustic record next time. We won't know until we get in there and start writing and see how we feel. This is what came out this time and I think everybody's happy with it."

- pittsburgh post-gazette


Pleasure Technicians
Euthanasia Daydream E.P.
Self-released

Writer: JUSTIN HOPPER

Pittsburgh’s Pleasure Technicians make music that walks a fine line: perhaps too machine-oriented for the rock folks, too guitar-heavy for the electronica obsessive. But that in-between is fertile ground -- the rock-influenced ’90s big beat of the Chemical Brothers and various Skint Records outfits, and the post-show clubs where U2 and Paul Oakenfold first met. On Euthanasia Daydream’s four songs, PT’s have progressed beyond that self-congratulatory admiration of man and machine alike that so many crossover groups become mired in, and are comfortably using their instruments rather than being used by them.



The songs that result from that comfort are somewhat of a mixed bag: The opening “Sly Move” is a catchy floor-pounding anthem, and “Everything Breaks” shows the atmospheric vocal possibilities learned from PT’s heroes U2. “Everything Breaks” also showcases the finest in Pleasure Technicians’ instrumental arsenal -- those ethereal Bono-isms and layered vocals and guitars are punctuated and disturbed by percussive electronic hits and corruptions that keep the song from becoming too sedate or predictable.



The same, however, can’t be said for “The Fallout,” on which Jay Valentich’s singing moves from being an integral part of the song to the hands-behind-back Liam Gallagher spotlight. The band has more to it than this sort of alt-arena sing-a-long, but on “The Fallout,” the studio-layered vocals and synths are hidden in an attempt to get the audience’s lighters out.



Pleasure Technicians has made more of their rock-tronica hybrid than many of the band’s contemporaries by transferring to their keyboards and computers all the duties of “traditional” alternative rock music’s multiple guitars and drums, without losing sight of the music’s basic spectrum. Where they hesitate, on the songwriting battleground, is on the rush to the next hill: incorporating the humanity of the group’s songs into that same spectrum. Euthanasia Daydream is a major offensive in that direction, but the battle’s not won yet.

- city paper


The Pleasure Technicians titled their last album Mistakes Machines Made, and perhaps as a response to that, their new Euthanasia Daydream EP captures the band in a more human, live feel, even as electronics play a key role in the music. The four songs reside at the corner of synth-pop and shoegazer, taking the novel keyboard textures of the former sound and merging them with the gauzy guitar and rhythm textures of the latter; and they manage to do this without sounding self-conscious about it. "Bluffing," for instance, is built around a repetitive waltz riff played on a distorted keyboard, with bloop noises worthy of a video game popping up to add variety. Vocalist Jay Valentich was compared to Bono for the last album, but here he sounds closer to Radiohead's Thom Yorke on "Everything Breaks," fighting for space with the guitars before several tracks of different vocals finally take over. "The Fallout" starts out quietly with acoustic guitar and Valentich responds with a gentle voice that approximates Rufus Wainwright. At close to six minutes, the song rises in volume and later comes back down gracefully. The results make Euthanasia Daydream one of the more compelling local releases so far this year.

-- MIKE SHANLEY - pulp


Discography

mistakes machines make, full-length, 2002
euthanasia daydream, ep, 2004

Photos

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Bio

vocals. beats. guitars. drums.
feeling. fury. quest. questions.
melody. mood. melancholy. manpower.
harmony. humanity. technology. technique.
tension. testimony. sound. syntax.
simulation. synthesis. antithesis.
words. wants. warnings. will.
calculation. inspiration. interpretation.
electricity. importance. sibilance.
sensation. sensitvity. style.
vigor. volume. verse. veracity.
velocity. reliance. relief. power.
passion. possibility. truth.