Starting life as a hard-hit snare and kick pattern played by Zachary Alford, “Plan” was toyed with throughout the Next Day sessions, with Bowie pasting in guitar dubs, shaker and cowbell (?) garnishes and organ drones that sound as though he’d heard a few Yo La Tengo records during his retirement. While Bowie would work the drum pattern into another track, “The Informer,” he also released the instrumental as “Plan” on the Next Day‘s “deluxe” release.
For what essentially was a studio sketch given a major-league promotion, “Plan” breathes well and creates an unsettled mood in its simple structure: its organ drones build in crescendo three times, at first dominating the mix to the point of distortion, then becoming the undertow of a guitar loop. The last organ sequence gets more overdubs (and seems to slightly go out of phase), with an eerie wailing quality, then it’s sharply faded as the guitar signals for another scene-change. “Plan” was aptly titled: a blueprint for a song that never would be.
Recorded: (drum track) 3 May-ca. 15 May 2011, The Magic Shop, NYC; (overdubs) spring-fall 2012, Magic Shop; Human Worldwide, NYC. Released on 8 March 2013 on The Next Day: Deluxe Edition.
Top: Michael Tapp, “Walking Rush Hour,” NYC, October 2012.