Plone, For Beginner Piano

Released: September 1999

Plone's 1998 EP, Plock, came out before Bola's Soup and Boards of Canada's Music.... Many comparisons were made between Plone and the Skam artists, particularly since Plone employs synth strings (like Bola) and is influenced by children's TV from the 70s and 80s (like B of C). However, whereas Bola uses synth strings to create vast, sweeping epics, Plone uses strings toward simpler, more pastoral ends. Likewise, while B of C uses children's TV sing-along themes to structure many of their songs, Plone focuses more on the incidental music found in lame 70s TV shows and movies they used to show on those afterschool specials, where young lovers or happy, innocent kids hold hands and scamper through rich, yellow fields of flowers. Plone's music is medium-cool, yellow and green, employing simple, traditional song structures, and featuring bright, cheery melodies and simple 909 rhythms. It is music that, at first, seems far too simplistic and naive to be of interest to an avid Autechre fan like myself. Most of the songs sound like a soundtrack of someone's memories of childhood, filtered (as so many memories are) through the lame, contrived plots of television and movies. Songs like "Busy Working" and "The Greek Alphabet" have a sweet, almost precious feel to them. The synth keyboard chimes in "Greek" hover beautifully over a deep organ melody, and the rhythm sounds like a steel band crossed with an organ grinder. Songs such as this, by themselves, seem light and uninteresting. However, coupled together with songs like "Press a Key," where a deep bass and synth burn alongside a mumbling FX'ed voice, and suddenly the frailty of those lighter songs is revealed as a facade--a mask that conceals the darkness and violence that is just on the edges of the television set, in the lives of the kids watching TV on Wednesday afternoon, desperately hoping dad doesn't come home in a bad mood, praying that school will be burnt down so they can stay home forever and play with Matchbox cars. At least, that was my childhood; somehow, listening to Plone, I find myself reliving those memories all too vividly.

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