Black Truffle / Australia / 2022
"Black Truffle proudly presents The Refrain from Melbourne-based artist Francis Plagne, whose growing catalog of collaborative and solo releases range from song-based work to abstract audio collages.
Closely aligned with Plagne's Moss Trumpet LP (released by Penultimate Press in 2018), The Refrain’s two side-long tracks mix sounds of the mundane with the otherworldly; rising, receding and overlapping. The result feels like being led through a series of scenes devoid of context or direction. Furthermore, it’s hard to define the scenes as either inviting or disconcerting, as they’re often both at the same time. As the record progresses sounds reappear and are juxtaposed so as to only hint at the familiar. A hall of mirrors, perhaps?
Completed in 2020 using material recorded from 2012-2020, the record uses tapes of shelved, unfinished, and forgotten projects that featured field recordings from various locations, domestic sounds of plastic bottles, bubble wrap, creaking chairs, voice, and instrumental recordings, including an appearance from crys cole on Casio. These pieces were re-amped, processed and edited, then additional instrumental pieces featuring synths, guitars, plastic saxophone, melodica, and percussion were added, the results shaped into drifting, episodic assemblages.
Although essentially a tape piece, The Refrain presents as a crude, non-idiomatic composition that feels both timeless and transitory. It’s a million miles from the polish and rigour of GRM, perhaps more in line with Jacques Bekaert’s eponymous Igloo LP, or Costin Miereanu’s Luna Cinese. The Refrain could be read as a psychedelic Krapp’s Last Tape; one man’s response to listening through forgotten and discarded tapes, reflecting, reconciling, and forging a new path. A potent tonic for these absurd times."