[$10 AUD // https://zanax.bandcamp.com/album/pluto]
I feel like I need to start this review by saying that xanax as a drug is not something you want to mess around with. There are those people out there who are all about promoting mental health as a serious thing, and I'm cool with that because telling someone to simply "cheer up" is never the answer, but then I feel like a lot of those same people will either not respond to comments or make comments of their own to the effect of "Today was such a bad day I need to pop a xanax right about now". Joking about the drug is pretty offensive to me and should be to anyone who has ever had to take such things, but then at the same time all I can see when I look at the name is a straight edge girl name "Ana". (Think about it) And I'm not saying anything bad about this artist using the name "ZANAX" because for all I know the person behind the name has used the drug before and if not at least it brings some awareness to the public about it (At least I got to write this intro)
The music on "Pluto", as the cassette not the planet (it's still a planet to me, dammit!) has an overall electronic vibe to it that can go from looping to ambient to both. It begins with this electronic ringing which is somehow pleasant. Through static comes whirrs and frequencies before glass tones/xylophones/piano keys. Sonar comes into play, in an underwater type of feel, but then that shifts into a flying whirr which takes us into space. Static wave crashes bring about a sharp drone and then there are lightsaber fights and Atari Return of the Jedi sounds as well. It's in and out wave whirrs and then a sort of electronic accordion sound which brings us to "Lost in Space". There are some sounds of modems, bells ringing, beeps, an eerie X-Files section and, yes, even crickets.
Ultimately though the best way to describe this is as ambient electronic simply because it tends to use electronics in the creation of the music, but at the same time these sounds form images in my head as something ambient would do. It has that underwater feel early on and then shifts to where I feel as if it takes place in space. I always remember astronauts returning from space and parachuting into water, but it doesn't seem to be the case here. I've come to the conclusion that rather than being underwater in an on Earth sense, this is rather about being underwater (or something similar) in space. And, really, why wouldn't this be about some sort of space adventure because it is named "Pluto" after all. (For the record, ZANAX has other cassettes named after planets so I'm pretty certain that the title is not in reference to the Disney dog)
As this cassette goes on, even with the looping, I feel like it is up there as a score (or soundtrack even) with a movie such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" and the original "Solaris". I know it's hard because I like to say that people should create films to go with music such as this, but in a lot of ways that's like wanting a book to be turned into a movie when a lot of the fun comes from reading it. A lot of what makes this cassette special is that you can take this venture into space with your imagination while listening to these sounds and a film might only hinder the limits of your mind. When you put this one on, be prepared to do some heavy dreaming.