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Utopianisti - Brutopianisti CD (album) cover

BRUTOPIANISTI

Utopianisti

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.62 | 10 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars UTOPIANISTI is quite the unique act and one with which i have become quite the fan in relatively short time based solely on 2016's stellar performances on "The Third Frontier" which found a new lease on the whole jazz-rock fusion meets brutal avant-prog thing. This project is led by the multi-instrumentalist Markus Pajakkala who specializes in saxophones, flutes, clarinets, keys and percussion. While on previous albums which consisted of whole ensembles of musicians churning out quirky rhythms and Rock In Opposition melodies, the newest release BRUTOPIANISTI seems to be more of a solo project by Pajakkala with only a handful of extras on board helping out in expanding the vocal range along with a few synth parts. Instrumentally speaking this is basically the Markus Pajakkla show as he plays drums, bass clarinet, soprano sax, xylophone and various flutes.

If you are expecting another slice of that ridiculously, superbly orchestrated avant-prog dancing in the jazz-fusion arenas of prog heaven then look elsewhere because this album goes in a completely different direction and displays a modern day trend of a quickening that is increasingly blurring the lines between metal, jazz, prog rock and ethnic world music. This music slaps you on the face from the very first frenetic drumbeats of "Gryul Ghul Gh" which combine a frenetic grindcore metal groove with Tuvan style throat singing as well as death metal growls! Despite the extreme metal feel to the whole thing, there are no signs of either guitar or bass guitar in the mix as the bass clarinet and other wind instruments pick up the rhythmic aspects of the music while screams, growls and other strange vocal utterings decorate the soundscape. This short little release barely clocks in over the half hour mark but packs a punch in its ruthless intensity and power punk attack.

While all this craziness unfolds, it sounds like the sax, flutes and bass clarinet borrow a lot from world influences ranging from Klezmer to traditional Chinese music as well as the aforementioned throat singing performed like a pro by Sampo Salonen. While the drums sound totally programed, it actually adds another layer of strangeness to the overall sound as it makes me think of such electronic wizards as Amon Tobin or other IDM (intelligent dance music) artists like Squarepusher (showing off his indietronica talents from his other project Poutatorvi). Between the metal intensity of the vocals, the electronic relentlessness along side with brutal avant-prog time signatures laced with swinging jazzy melodies and ethnic undertones with psychedelic twists and turns, we're left with a very demanding listen indeed but not one that is too alienating even upon first listen. There is a firm sense of balance on BRUTOPIANISTI as not to overwhelm the listener with too much at any given moment.

BRUTOPIANISTI is certainly a curve ball thrown at us in the discography of UTOPIANISTI, not only in terms of how quickly it was released after the previous album as prog oriented artists of this magnitude often take many years to polish new albums into perfection, but also in how utterly different it is from their previous offerings. I would imagine that for those who don't take a liking to this one because it strays too far too fast from the previous efforts will probably be assured that this will not likely be the style that Pajakkala intends to continue ad infinitum but rather a playful little side project that needed to be released. Be assured for as different as this album is, it is chock full of brilliant ideas mixing and melding their way into pure brilliance. Tracks such as "Hll" deliver a percussive beat that sounds like a warehouse of fireworks that caught on fire with lysergic ambience mellowing it out and "Zhmi Bgi D" with death metal growls and bass clarinet quickly morphing into an elves' LSD party on Neptune sounds as otherworldly as the fictional language titles. This is truly bizarre stuff that will either reel you in instantly like an unfortunate bass on Lake Michigan or repel you like a mosquito from freshly deeted body in the malaria zone. Either way you won't think that you've heard this before even from UTOPIANISTI itself but regardless it will leave some sort of impression. For me, i'm digging this one a lot!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

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