Francis Plagne - Udge LP
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Great to see Francis Plagne back on Horn of Plenty following the vinyl reissue of Rural Objects in 2021, one of that year's best. Udge is being billed as a continuation of that record, though i didn't quite hear it exactly - at least not all - like that. It should be no surprise, really, since Plagne has a wildly varied recorded output spread across a number of labels that dates back to 2006, a catalogue of work that has seen him combine with a good number of the underground's brightest stars - James Rushford, Andrew Chalk, Crys Cole et al. Plagne is, for want of a better word, a quixotic composer, seemingly unconstrained by genre, as much interested in the possibilities of odd pop instincts as the experimental or avant garde. Are those things really even that far apart anyway? Probably less so than we might be led to believe. Udge, then, could be seen as an experiment in textures, buttressing acoustic and electronic tones with the melodic and atonal. I suppose you might interpret that as subversive, a tendency to upturn the orthodoxy and push the listener into unfamiliar spaces. For such an approach, it's uniquely accessible, a certain gleam in its eye that steers it from the po-faced tendencies within the field. Plagne trades in the serious business of playing around and it makes for an experience that's as joyful as it is cerebral. A welcome rarity in that sense.