Sunday, August 21, 2022

Utopiae - Ostblock Boheme [Phantomnoise Records / Edition Schubert]

Coming in from the long standing label that is Phantomnoise Records in collaboration with Edition Schubert is "Ostblock Boheme", the extended full length album debut by the Konrad Schubert-led project Utopiae. Put out on the circuit on June 22nd, 2k22 the album features a total of nine brand new original tracks plus two additional sets of bonus cuts which consist of four remixes including one by Xotox which looks back on a long relationship with the Phantomnoise imprint as well as the four tracks originally featured on Utopiae's very first EP release from 2020. Also included is a set of art cards and the 7" vinyl single "Praha / Frühling In Prag". This massive package provides a playtime of over 80 minutes in total, spanning an arc from folksy and twisted, obviously Americana-infused Blues vibes provided by the scenic opener that is "Frühling In Prag" to the immanent, somewhat maritime melancholia-inducing violin elegies of the subsequent "Tief" which find their even deeper, emotionally touching continuation in "Das Ewige Meer" whereas "For A While (Piano Version)" goes down a route of full on romanticism for cold November nights - which would be the perfect season and point in time to listen to this album in its entirety, the classic tunes of "EP1" included. Remixwise, with all four reworks dealing with "Praha", we see the rework by Wolvesinsound go down a well dramatic, dark'ish SynthPop route, the "Praha *Layman Alpha RMX" explores slow, yet large scale Future Pop realms whereas Phil J enters technoid and festival-functional Tech x HandsUp territories with his interpretation whereas Xotox chooses a subdued and unique approach that seems to seep through into our dimension through a portal providing a connection to the upside-down. If darkness, nightly meditativeness and poring over things such as life in general or deep philosophical questions are your thing you might've found a worthy companion within this album.


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