Single Review: The Utopia Strong – Castalia

Three years on from the release of the debut LP by The Utopia Strong they return with a new single from their forthcoming second album.

This one sits halfway between the rave room and the chill out lounge, perhaps we could call it corridor music as it has a transitionary feel about it, the long slow parts are very calming but there is a rhythmical urgency building so it could work both ways, depending on which room you are about to emerge into.

As a single it may be an odd choice but as Utopia Strong are a 99% instrumental group, none of their music is an obvious choice as a single. In fact it seems odd to call it a single when there is no physical release, but there is a rather spectacular computer generated video to accompany it. I was really going to try to not mention snooker but the video really is one big subliminal snooker reference with a multitude of coloured balls bouncing around, just like all their previous videos.

The music, for the most part is electronic and comes from the modular synth played by Steve Davis (Legendary Snooker player, hence the snooker reference). Kavus Torabi provides the glissando strings and Michael York plays percussion and wind instruments. There are some vocal sounds but they are limited to a few angelic sounding oohs and ahhs here and there. For those familiar with German music of the early 70’s the similarities with Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Temple will be obvious but for newcomers this is a great introduction to instrumental, experimental and improvised music from that era, albiet with a modern twist.

Overall this is just as strong as the music on the debut LP and I for one look forward to hearing the album, which is released on June 10th.

‘Castalia’ is taken from The Utopia Strong’s forthcoming LP International Treasure – pre-order now via Bandcamp

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Review by Andy Jesse

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