500club - Pluto Return (KSX Solutions)

500club – Pluto Return (KSX Solutions)

In an age of being able to download, and access, an artist’s complete back catalogue almost anywhere, there is something incredibly exciting about receiving a cassette in the post, and all the
information is what is on the printed on the sleeve. This is what happened when I received Pluto Return by 500club. Due to it being released on KSX Solutions I knew that beautywork was involved, but the rest was a mystery. After looking on KSX website, details of the persons involved were still hazy.

Eventually, after doing some web sleuthing, and asking around, I found out that 500club was indeed beautywork and Rose Actor-Engel. beautywork, AKA Carrie Ford, is one of the most exciting recording artists to emerge in recent years. Ford’s Liquid Sugar tape on No Rent Records was an uncompromising assault of the senses. It was a wonderful 20-minutes that was as harsh as it was beautiful. Huge slabs of noise were underpinned by field recordings. Rose Actor-Engel is no slouch either. Her apologist releases are filled with deep drones, swathes of noise that make you feel strangely uplifted. And this is before we take into consideration her label No Rent Records, that she runs with Jason Crumer. Together the pairing of their styles works better than expected.

Pluto Return (Side A)’ opens with dreamy synths that gracefully billow forth. Like sand being billowed about the beach. A third of the way in, harder tones start to appear. This is similar to a wind change on the beach and miniature sandstorms start to appear. You squint to prevent getting sand in your eyes. Just after the halfway mark there is a full on storm raging. The tranquil sounds from the introduction have been long forgotten and everyone is racing to get out the maelstroms. However, like with all storms, it breaks and the final third starts to ease translucent sounds back into the mix. The second side opens with an ominous hum. As ‘Side B’ progresses the music sounds like it’s being eroded from inside. ‘Side A’ was more of a tangible growing of sounds. It was all-consuming.

Here, on ‘Side B’, things are more abstract. The swells aren’t as violent, but they are just as impressive. The level of restraint on display here is impressive, given how incendiary ‘Side A’ was. The downside to the tape is that it’s too short. On ‘Side A’ the really meaty, raging stuff could have been extended. What we were presented with was something concise and awe-inspiring, but it felt too short. With noise I’ve found that prolonged exposure to really harsh sounds is unsatisfying as there is no variation to the sound, which ‘Side A’ has in spades, but when something has been crafted so expertly, as Pluto Return has, it would have been nice to give us a little more of that horrific sounding noise, because it would have made the graceful outro even more poignant. The same is true of ‘Side B’. When it sounds like the music is eroding itself, it would have been great to hear that elongated. That said, this is an incredible piece of music filled with as much emotion and pathos as anything else I’ve heard this year. It is far too early to be compiling end of year lists, but if I was, this would definitely be a front-runner.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.