By Alisa Samadani, A&E Editor Originally published in Issue 10, Volume 33 of The University Register on March 26, 2021
It seems that one of my favorite EDM artists released an album in 2020 from right under my nose. Everyone, I would like to introduce you to the world of Armond Arabshahi, better known as Unlike Pluto. This Atlanta-born DJ was born a musician, teaching himself to play the piano at age five, then to learn the guitar, drums, and soon, the art of DJing. In 2015, Unlike Pluto released a remix of Diplo’s “Revolution” that featured Faustix, Imanos and Kai. Fast forward to 2017, when he toured North America and set the stage for a promising career in music. Since then, Unlike Pluto has been cranking out hit singles for years, making a name for himself on the Monstercat Best of 2016 with his debut single, “Waiting For You,” and making waves in the scene after releasing Pluto Tapes, a three-volume series which entailed the EDM artist releasing one song a week starting from May of 2018. Now, six albums later, and most likely looking to release an album this year, I have to merval at someone who knew what they were meant to do from such a young age. Did I also mention that this man has signed to three separate labels, and has released both his debut album and last year’s independently? That, dear readers, is tenacity.
Now that I have relayed all of the awespiring accomplishments of Unlike Pluto, let me explain why his most recent album, “Messy Mind” is a must-listen. First, the title. If you are reading this either as a hard copy in the newspaper, or online, chances are you have a pretty clear idea of the state of the world right now. It could be better. For me, reading a title like “Messy Mind” tells me that this is a personal journey, most likely with a ballad or two. Second, when taking a quick look at Unlike Pluto’s social media, he had been hyping up this release for a while.
“This album was a journey that started about a year ago with me flying to Atlanta to write with my childhood best friends. I wanted to expose myself to different genres and challenge myself to reinvent a part of me musically.” - @unlikepluto, Instagram
The album, which holds 18 songs - impressive, considering the entire album can be listened to in under an hour - carries its power in all areas. From the opening lyrics of “8 Legged Dreams” and the killer riffs, to the heartbreaking chorus of “Broken String,” this release holds a personal touch on every second of every track. When Unlike Pluto releases a song, believe me, there are no fillers in sight, something that is not seen often enough in the industry.
“Messy Mind is the first FULLY INDEPENDENT album I have ever released. Owning your music is unfortunately a rare thing in this industry (it shouldn’t be). I challenged myself to become self sufficient and take full control of the writing, mixing, mastering, distribution and marketing of my music. I made tons of mistakes and also figured out fun new things that worked.” -@unlikepluto, Instagram
As the artist stated, Unlike Pluto spared no breath in making sure this final product was catered to his audience, and he sure delivered. Upon writing this review, I have replayed the entire album over 16 times, and I still find small details in the backing track from time to time. Yes, I am a long-time Unlike Pluto fan, I will admit to my strong biases, but I suggest that everyone at least take one listen and focus on his lyrics. Rarely does the artist pour their blood, sweat, and tears into every minute of an album. Typically, there is one song that people just feel is uncomfortably loud or too gut wrenching, but the diversity in sounds and homogenous message that we all have a disorganized life will resonate within each and every one of you.
Lastly, I wanted to close with a final quote from Unlike Pluto to his fans, to the people who have carried him thus far. This is someone who cares about his listeners, and has never stopped. A+
“I want all of you to know that I am BEYOND happy with the trajectory of this community!! I love all of you so much and with the recent changes the sky’s the limit for what we can accomplish together :)” -@unlikepluto, Instagram
Image courtesy of Genius