Two Words is the debut release from the duo of Canadian sound artist crys cole and Australian songwriter Francis Plagne. Building on a series of experimental live performances in which the pair toyed with possible common languages for their seemingly unrelated approaches to music, the LP’s two sides present a single piece that brings together abstract texture and slow-motion song in a sonic space where genre cedes to the logic of dreams.
The piece begins with a long, nearly static sequence built primarily from rubbed surfaces, using movement in the stereo field and changing mic placements to create a unified but unstable sonic environment that mimics wind, water, and breath, opening an impossible space between nature and artifice. This artificial outdoors ultimately makes room for Plagne’s electric organ, which sounds a series of melancholic chords to accompany a wandering Wyatt-esque keyboard line as cole’s intimate contact mic textures sizzle and pop in the foreground.
From here the piece makes a surprise detour into song, as the majority of the second side finds Plagne intoning a series of obtuse two word phrases (from a text by Berlin-based poet Marty Hiatt) to an austere organ accompaniment. Working closely with engineer and producer Joe Talia, cole and Plagne extend the studio-as-an-instrument tradition of Teo Macero and This Heat, introducing subtle yet unexpected production shifts that lead the listener from the initial austerity of the organ and voice to an oneiric space of asynchronised vocal doubles, creaking textures, and distant whistling, ultimately arriving at something like an imagined meeting of Organum and Arthur Russell.
Packaged in a suitably mysterious sleeve featuring a lush work by Australian painter Anne Wallace on the front and text by Hiatt on the back, Two Words is both comforting and strange, a disorienting blend of seemingly discrepant elements.
Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download
Francis Plagne is a musician from Melbourne, Australia whose work swings between songwriting and a variety of other approaches, including group improvisation, instrumental abstraction and domestic musique concrète. He has been performing live regularly since 2005 and had released recordings on labels such as Albert's Basement, Black Truffle, Kye Records, Penultimate Press and his own Mould Museum. Alongside his solo work, he works with James Rushford and Joe Talia as Food Court, in a duo with Canadian sound artist crys cole and in various collaborative projects with the English ambient musician Andrew Chalk. Recent releases include Two Words with crys cole (Black Truffle), an album-length 'piece that brings together abstract texture and slow-motion song in a sonic space where genre cedes to the logic of dreams' and Moss Trumpet (Penultimate Press), a home-recorded stew of instrumental and environmental sounds layered to create a woozy, constantly shifting texture.
crys cole is a Canadian sound artist working in composition, improvised performance and sound installation. Generating subtle and imperfect sounds through haptic gestures and seemingly mundane materials, she creates textural works that continuously retune the ear.
cole has ongoing collaborations with James Rushford (AU) (as Ora Clementi) and Oren Ambarchi (AU) and has worked recently with Francis Plagne (AU), Leif Elggren (SW), Tetuzi Akiyama (JP), David Rosenboom (US), Keith Rowe (UK), Seiji Morimoto (JP/DE), Jessika Kenney (US), Tim Olive (JP/CA) and many more. Her work has been published by Black Truffle (AU), Penultimate Press (UK), Ultra Eczema (BE), caduc. (CA), Bocian (PL), Another Timbre (UK) and Infrequency editions (CA/DE). She has performed and exhibited her work worldwide.