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Utiel; Wagner: Cosmic Ghosts

Cosmic Ghosts is the debut offering from multi-instrumentalist Wagner Utiel, which will be closely followed by a sister album Yuugen Chronicles. The reason for two albums coming out so close together is the Cosmic Ghosts is purely made up of Utiel's "synthetic" music, featuring as it does, only keyboard, synth guitar and programmed drums, whereas Yuugen Chronicles on the other hand is a guitar album. Of the two, I've only heard this album, however on the strength of Cosmic Ghosts, I am most intrigued to hear more of Utiel's work.

Relying quite heavily on the likes of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Klaus Schulze and Jean Michel Jarre, this is music which uses textures and moods to whisk you into an alternative universe, for which the title Cosmic Ghosts is most appropriate. The themes build slowly with a dream like pace, which is disrupted by programmed drums, which while featured quite sparingly do add a surprising rigidity to such floating soundscapes. The theme of the album is centred round the cycle of life, whether that be in the shape of the human form, or a more universal outlook, with the songs all combining together to make quite a strong statement, although each song is individual and separate from each other in a way that albums of this style generally are not.

Painstakingly structured and beautifully arranged the sparseness of much of the music here allows you to become completely surrounded by the themes, almost filling in the blanks and adding your own dimensions to the sounds as they ease their way into your mind. For all the slow vibe of the music, it is distinctly insistent, being equally compelling and mesmerising at the same time. What this does allow for is music that works superbly as background sounds, letting you pick up on the main themes, however when more time and care is given to the songs, the effect is startlingly different. Suddenly the dense and miniscule layers begin to show themselves, bringing a different focus to what has previously been revealed and also drip feeding changing moods and themes with each subsequent visit.

For a debut album Cosmic Ghosts is impressively accomplished and decidedly spell binding. Oddly I can't imagine this music transferring into a guitar led setting at all, and for that reason I am desperate to hear how Utiel approaches that side of his music too.

Track Listing
1. The Awakening
2. The First Flight
3. Fire Storm
4. Plasma Clouds
5. Gravity
6. Solar Winds
7. Cosmic March
8. Echoes From The Past
9. Distant Light
10. Pulsar
11. The Last Dance

Added: August 14th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Wagner Utiel MySpace
Hits: 1824
Language: english

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