Utopia Cloak is the alias of a UK electronic producer operating firmly in the post-IDM sphere, and this 12” EP ‘Marina Garden’ on German label Film offers his or her debut release under the pseudonym, collecting together six new tracks.
Opening track ‘Work’ introduces the predominantly downbeat atmosphere that features here, as delicate melodic arrangements trace a tentative path against sparse bass pads and angelic vocal harmonies, only for robust MPC-punched hiphop breaks to suddenly lock into place, the sharp-focus and upfront nature of the fractured rhythms contrasting with the blurred elements around them, a trait that’s one of the defining characteristics of this EP.
‘Letters’ gets decidedly more moody as digitally manipulated bass synths ripple back and forth against the swagger of clattering snares and chattering electronics, the majestic sounding background arrangements slowly building into a rising wall as tumbling percussion fills start infiltrating the beats.
Elsewhere, ‘Reinflate-Deinflate’ sees more rigid electro rhythms assuming the forefront alongside vaguely jazzy yet icy cold synth riffs and jagged timestretching effects, before ‘Work (Reprise)’ brings this EP to a close with the soft wash of field recorded rain providing a spectral backing for the delicately trailing blurred keyboard arrangements and twinkling bell-like tones. More than anything else, it provides an unexpected and refreshing moment amongst a tracklisting that sees Utopia Cloak operating well within IDM’s established conventions, and hopefully portends for future releases.