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As Summer Ends, pluko Releases His Enigmatic Debut Off Odesza’s Foreign Family Collective [Review]

Odesza's Foreign Family Collective has always been known for finding some of the most innovative and original artists in the industry. The label has come to be associated with both delicate soundscapes as well as powerful sonic masterpieces that carry both emotional and creative weight.

While the label is best known for artists such as Jai Wolf, Rufus Du Sol, and Big Wild, FFC have continued to discover some exciting new talents. Case in point: pluko. This relative newcomer has just released his debut album sixteen, and with it, he has shown listeners all over the world a bit of the inner workings of his mind.

A Scenic Soundtrack

I had to smile when I first read pluko's bio. The artist originally hails from a small town in Pennsylvania, Hollidaysburg. I am familiar with the town myself, having spent time in proximity to the small town at Altoona, where a major satellite campus of Penn State lies. I bring up this otherwise moot point because I hear much of the rural Pennsylvania spirit injected into his introspective album.

Pennsylvania is best known for both Philly and Pittsburgh, but in between the two major metropolitan areas lies a litany of small towns and beautiful landscapes that seem to be paused in a simpler time. Throughout the delicate productions which comprise sixteen, I found myself daydreaming of driving through the back roads of my former state on quiet nights. Thinking to myself of what might become of life and the world around me.

sixteen is a scenic soundtrack of sorts. While the word “ethereal” is often overused in music reviews as of late, I am hard pressed to find a better descriptor of this otherworldly 12-track effort.

Balancing Beauty With Power

Many of the tracks on pluko's debut album are under three minutes in length. This initially made me skeptical of their ability to pack a long-lasting impression. I am happy to say, that my initial skepticism was proven wrong near immediately.

The album opens with ‘lost'. An atmospheric track which relies on echoing, shimmering elements. While the front end of the leadoff record relies on subtlety, momentum is built methodically throughout resulting in a final closing act which is bold and driving. Many of the songs on sixteen match this style. They invite the listener in with accessible intros and reward patience with a larger picture that is breathtaking.

Taking Risks Which Pay Off

Throughout the album, pluko takes interesting risks in terms of sound design. Incorporating airy trap elements alongside his overall natural essence gives tracks intriguing structure that will keep listeners engaged and surprised around every turn.

Overall this is an album that may not resonate with everyone on a deeper level. But in a world where chaos and flashiness seem to reign supreme, pluko has demonstrated that staying true to oneself is all that is needed to find overwhelming success.

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Check out the full album below.

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