Saturday, September 28, 2013
Utopiae - EP 1 (2013)
Country: Rome, Italy
Style: Singer-Songwriter/Experimental Folk
I didn't quite remember how I first obtained this little EP when I first put in on my Ipod a few weeks ago. I remembered that it was a folk release before I even put it on, but I didn't remember that Konrad had actually sent it to me in an email months earlier. It wasn't until I skimmed through my emails that I remembered what this was and was actually quite surprised by it.
Knowing that it was folk inspired didn't lessen the impact of these four songs once I finally pressed play to listen to them. Being a "singer-songwriter" technically isn't that difficult to do, it doesn't requite even that much skill of talent, but becoming more than just that one guy with a guitar singing in his bedroom or in a studio does take more. Reading that this guy listed this EP in the indie folk style kind of scared me for a second because that's the sort of sound that I expected to hear, sort of a lo-fi or at least unpolished attempt at folk music, but to my surprise, this turned out to be so much more. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give to Konrad is that these four songs reminded me a little bit of the group Kiss The Anus of A Black Cat, a group who I am a big fan of. Much like that group, Konrad uses the whole singer-songwriter style more as an anchor while bringing in some additional instrumentation from electronics to piano to make his sound so much rounder and more expansive than your everyday guy on the street with his guitar recording. I think the somber tone of the four songs definitely benefits from the addition of these extra elements, it doesn't feel like a Konrad is attempting to break into the realms of indie folk (at least the sort of indie folk that I'm familiar with anyway) or mainstream listenership. The four songs maintain a pretty bleak and, in some spots, downright depressing atmosphere that I find quite entrancing and well done.
While the songs themselves could have been a bit more catchy, I'm not sure whether that was really the point since atmosphere is the most powerful aspect on this EP. For sure it isn't for the typical folk or singer-songwriter fan, you're not going to find vocal hooks or lavish production on here, but for those who enjoy this style a bit darker and melancholic I definitely suggest you check this out. Not perfect, but a nice starting point for sure.
Overall Score: 7
Highlights: My Clouds, In Circles