Artist: Murcof
Album: Utopia

Released: June 2004
Label: Leaf

Murcof (a.k.a. Fernando Corona) has had a reaction to the shallow gloss of techno music. It is the album Utopia (75'41"). Murcof may be from the world of techno, but his work is not of it. His album Utopia is everything mindless club music is not; adventurous and thought provoking, warm and emotional, infectious and fun, and experimental and imaginative throughout. The 11 tracks vary in content. The quiet pieces portray a spooky tenderness - perhaps due to the spaciousness and scale these pieces evoke, or the hint of a pre-existing emotional connection to the samples of acoustic instruments. The energy pieces are a cerebral romp. With a rhythmic foundation made up of layers of looping sounds - pops, clicks, digital noise, spliced and synchronized forward and back - the music grinds on machine-like. Where the tempo shifts between timing signatures, the mind contemplates this music's meaning leaving the body to search for a musical pulse. Elsewhere Murcof manipulates cast off artifacts into approximations of identifiable tones and forms. These sound bites and samples, out of their original context, collide rhythmically beneath electronic sighs of smooth, breathing harmonies. Murcof's imaginative studio techniques include mixing in hiss, glitches and noise, as well as turning samples inside out rendering them unrecognizable. By creaking, bending and flexing the samples, these tones can be extended downward into the inaudible range just as easily as they can metamorphose into a lilting melody or metronomic snare hit. Is the result a spacey chill or a chilly space? Not sure. But Utopia's virtue is that it is too minimal and gritty for gleaming mainstream tastes, but perfect for dancing (or dreaming) in the long dark of night.

- STAR'S END/Chuck van Zyl   14 October 2004