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Soundtrack Review

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Utopia (Original Television Soundtrack)


Composer: Cristobal Tapia de Veer
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
SILCD1437 (CD), SILED1437 (download)
Release Date: 07 October 2013

Utopia is a domestic thriller that can equal the current output of American television. The six part series revolves around a group of graphic novel fans who discover a terrible secret. Based in Canada, Cristobal Tapia de Veer moved to London for six months to complete as he says, "six months of guerilla composition" for Utopia. Described by The Arts Desk as "Cristobal Tapia de Veer's cunning, menacing music”, the score features instruments ranging from a rare Chilean trutruka recorded in Borough tube station to the percussion sounds of a rhino turd from Zimbabwe. This is one of the most eclectic and innovative scores in a long while...

Cristobal Tapia de Veer's score for Utopia is a bit of a difficult soundtrack to review. I'm not a fan of scores where snippets of dialogue from the movie/TV show are included over the music. For me a soundtrack gives you the chance to appreciate the score away from the dialogue. If you're a fan of Utopia, then you'll know what soundtrack you're listening too - you shouldn't have to be constantly reminded by vocal interruptions. Having said that, I could be wrong... these segments could actually have been part of the original score. Either way, I found them irritating and detracted from the music.

The next problem, for me, was that while technically interesting, this score sounded more like someone trying to impress with their zaniness. Strip away the rather odd and, dare I say, cutting edge presentation and you're left with rather bland and uneventful music. Just what is the electronic voice repeatedly uttering in 'The Network'? To me it sounded like it was saying "In my nappy", but that can't be right... can it? But then a score that boasts it uses the "percussion sounds of a rhino turd from Zimbabwe" wouldn't be above such things.

Highlights, as short and sweet as they are, include the beautiful merging of chords at the close of 'The Network'; the erie vocals on 'Meditative Chaos'; 'Jessica Gets Off'; and 'Utopia's Death Cargo'

The album contains 28 tracks, lasting approximately 1 hr, 16 mins. Fans of the show will probably enjoy this immensely, but general soundtrack fans are probably best advised to give this one a wide berth.


Darren Rea

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