DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Matt finds International Treasure - thanks to The Utopia Strong (review)

 International Treasure

The Utopia Strong - Steve Davis, Kavus Torabi & Michael J York (@StrongUtopia

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

I had the immense pleasure of bumping into six-time world champion snooker legend Steve Davis at the launch of the equally legendary Bryan Talbot’s new graphic novel of Luther Arkwright.

We got to talking and it transpires that Steve has a band – The Utopia Strong – and they have a funky new ambient album ‘International Treasure’ so I said I’d take a listen… As a fan of music by The Orb, College, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis – International Treasure ticks a lot of those boxes…

Steve (centre) and the excellent sci-fi genius Adrian Tchaikovsky 

First track Trident Of Fire comes pre-packed with menace and darkness like the fuse of a mind-altering musical bomb from which you cannot escape, but before you know what’s happening you’re in a good place.

Then it’s cyberpunk a go go with Persephone Sleeps that would make a great chill-out for Neo and crew’s Matrix downtime. Shepherdess starts slow and swirls an ambient mist around and through your brain canals before cow bells and the buzz of drones change the tempo. 

There is a fun mix of tracks here that make quality listening for anyone looking to escape this uncertain post-Brexit world and find digital solace from the storm of everyday life. Speaking of storms the track Disaster 2 has a delicious rainfall opening that evokes being cosy and warm – possibly with a good glass of whisky in hand – while the elements do their thing outside. Then it morphs into bagpipes and more…

It's this eclectic curation of fascinating mashed-up sounds that makes International Treasure an album worthy of gracing anyone’s digital library and/or streaming choice. When the title track hits, it comes bringing the gifts of feeling like the probable anxiety experienced by astronauts as they spin through the void. The final track Castalia is an upbeat tune that wouldn’t have been out of place at a Moby all-nighter show. 

There might not be a remix trance version of Snooker Loopy but otherwise, this is a fantastic trip to take and shows that Steve and crew are a musical force to be reckoned with!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - An ambient delight - plugging directly into your mind recommended)


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