‘Utopia’ Series 1 soundtrack album review

Shhh! Lock the door, close the curtains. We’ve got to talk about the soundtrack to Channel 4’s violent cult conspiracy hit Utopia. Quietly.

Utopia is the most challenging soundtrack of the year. This is not commute music or easy listening. No. This is a bleak soundscape so experimental it borders on the esoteric, which perversely makes it perfect for a series built by paranoia and secrets. But as a solo listening experience? It’s certainly for those in want of something unorthodox.

Not only that, it’ll take you so far down the musical rabbit hole that you’ll start to question what the purpose of a soundtrack – any soundtrack – is. Come to think of it, what’s the point in sound? And ears?

Composer Cristobal Tapia De Veer’s self-branded “guerilla composition” has resulted in an experience that’s unique to TV composition, both in the structure of what he’s written and the instruments used, which include a Chilean trutruka (a trumpet made of coiled bamboo and horse intestine) and a percussion created from – we kid you not –  Zimbabwean rhino turd.

The music produced is as eclectic as its instruments. Like a gallery of modern art it bypasses your logic centres and goes straight for a gut reaction. Its creepy electronic tones, unidentifiable moans and vocal rips make it an unsettling, often dislocating experience: one that leaves you feeling like the test subject at the centre of a maze of deviously-crafted sound experiments. Don’t try and pull apart and analyse what you’re hearing: just let it flow through you. Soak in it. Give in. Relent. Submit. Where is Jessica Hyde?

It is challenging, bordering on the terrifying. But there’s also something irresistible about the oddness of it all.

Here we pick our 5 most mind-bending tracks…

 

‘Arby’s Oratorio’

Terrifying. Just terrifying. Where’s that backwards howling coming from? Was that a whisper? Why does my head feel like it’s immersed in concrete? Just… someone, please… give me a hug.

 

‘Mr Rabbit It Is’

More rabbit than Sainsbury’s at the start of this (one for our legion Chas n’ Dave fans there) but, no lie, we actually saw a field of rippling Technicolor hues dancing in front of our eyes while listening to this.

 

‘Twat’

With its strange warped and reversed tones, we’re fairly sure if you play this backwards it’ll sound the same as it does forwards. That, or it’ll summon forth a legion of the damned.

 

‘Lovechild’

Imagine a psychopath composing the music for Trumpton. Got that? That’s ‘Lovechild’. Now run. RUN.

 

‘Utopia Finale’

You’ve made it to the end of the album, probably wide-eyed, perspiring, and unable to trust anyone around you. And as the deranged samba beat bounces along you realise, you weren’t listening to the music, the music was inside you all along. Mind. Blown.

 

Released on Monday 7 October 2013 by Silva Screen.

> Buy the album on Amazon.

> Buy Series 1 on DVD on Amazon.

What did you think of the soundtrack? Let us know below…

  • Sarah

    Freeking incredible just as a much as the show itself. I have no clue why I’ve fallen in love with the music for it but its unlike anything I’ve ever heard before and shows a lot of talent. I think in years to come people will realise how amazing it is. I think only a true music fan can really can appreciate the weirdness and eccentricities of this soundtrack.