For the Record: Pluko’s sophomore album “Color Blind”


Photo credit: Gracen Hoyle

illustration by Gracen Hoyle

For the record, Pluko is one of those artists I discovered completely by accident. One day after Spotify had exhausted my Discover Weekly playlist, it switched to a random radio station that featured a Pluko song in the setlist. I decided to look at the artist page and found “Color Blind,” Pluko’s sophomore album. The man behind the moniker is Sam Martinsen, and at only 20 years old hailing from a small town in Pennsylvania, he’s already accomplished quite a bit as a producer. From playing at festivals like Coachella, Firefly, and HARD Summer to opening for A-list acts like Odesza and amassing half a million monthly listeners on Spotify, his upward trend as an artist has been impressive. “Color Blind” arrived in May of 2020 and showcases Pluko’s impressive producing skills and his ability to blend genres to incorporate a variety of sounds into his music. Drawing inspiration from artists like Flume and Louis The Child, “Color Blind” is a unique mix of experimental EDM and pop intertwined with an array of vocal performances. In Pluko’s words, “Color Blind represents a moment in time where music is the only thing that you let affect you.”

The 13 track album starts out hot. Gritty synths and bass lines are met with sharp percussion for an instrumental out of the top drawer of EDM production on the first song “go.” Pluko’s producing talent is on full display from the start — “go” is intense and heavy with emotional chords worked into the mix. The tempo switches up rather quickly, however, as the second song, “blessings,” sounds much more like an upbeat pop song with bouncing kick drums and different keyboard sounds throughout. “blessings” features the first lyrics of the album and gives an insight to Pluko’s relationship with music saying, “And I wonder if I make it out/Another blessing comes falling down/I know you wanna leave but I need ya/But I need you now.”

Tracks 3-5 return to the heavy bassline EDM sound with intricate synth work woven in. Track 4, “your skin,” my personal favorite of the album, is laid back and groovy with a steady beat and low pitched melody over a catchy bassline. The middle of the album slows things down with emotional and poppy sounding vocals paired with unique sounding electronic r&b instrumentals. The vibe definitely differs from the rest of the album about halfway through but seems to compliment the rest of the songs at the same time. The 10th song on the tracklist, “reality distortion” sounds just like it implies. The sound returns to aggressive beats and hard synths for an EDM-trap sound that took me by surprise at first. It feels a little out of place compared to the rest of the songs and is a good example of my only critique of the album — that it sometimes feels overproduced. Pluko goes to great lengths to ensure no detail is left out in every sound in every song, but every once in a while it can be a little much.

Overall, “Color Blind” is an album that can be appreciated for the pure production talent and attention to detail. Although some of the songs come on too strong for my liking, the project as a whole is wildly impressive for Pluko as a young producer. As a bonus, Pluko also released a complete album film to accompany his LP. The film features cinematic landscape shots and trippy visuals for each song that is pretty cool to watch. “Color Blind” is definitely an album I’ve enjoyed listening to and there is a ton of upside for Pluko moving forward.