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A Heavenly Opus by UtopiaXO

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UtopiaXO (aka Dave Hesketh) embarks on an ambitious scheme to illuminate the minds of humanity and show them the beauty of the planet they call home.

This debut release combines the influences of Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Goldfrapp, Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd, the Orb, and the Future Sound of London. Quite a mixed bag, there, and Hesketh does an exemplary job of weaving them all together and putting the results through the lens of his individual creativity. His recording studio is located at a conjunction of ley lines, enhancing the spiritual content of the music.

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UTOPIAXO: The Light (CD on UtopiaXO Music

This release from 2009 offers 69 minutes of progressive ambience.

UtopiaXO is Dave Hesketh (playing an assortment of guitars, basses, keyboards, electronics, various obscure percussion, and software). Joining him on this recording are: Sara Hughes (on voice), Philip Meldrum (on extra cymbals), and Jacqueline Barr (on Tibetan bowls and cymbals).

Airy electronics and versatile guitars join forces to produce an excursion into the soul of an holistic Earth.

Celestial textures establish an airy pastiche of dreamy backdrops linking everything together. Flowing keyboards and pacific electronics help to perpetuate that atmospheric milieu in a grand trance fashion. At times, the keyboards adopt progrock sentiments as they express glistening chords that personify delightful ascension.

A plethora of guitars are utilized in crafting this recording, resulting in a lushly stringed presence that shines in a diverse manner. Pleasant strumming, astral glissando, acoustic lilts, lap steel sustains, soaring e-bow spirals--all contributing to elevate the music and maintain an enriching frame of mind throughout this journey of discovery. Hesketh displays a graceful expertise in harnessing the crystalline nature of the guitar and applying that essence to the creation of divine vistas.

While percussion is present, the rhythms are incidental and usually muted, perceptible as subliminal aspects lending artful oomph to dreamy passages.

Violin strains provide a heavenly embellishment, keeping a few tracks afloat.

Breathy vocals (in the style of Gilli Smythe from classic Gong albums) are featured throughout the album, offering guidance more than lyrical content. In one track, this delicate voice recites Blake poetry in a meadow; in another piece, some Keats verse is offered to enhance euphoria. Also heard (here and there) are children at play, conveying a cheerful affinity with the environment. During the last track, Hesketh narrates a personal poem for children everywhere in tandem with some glittery guitar (which will bring a smile to the lips of those who remember the finale of Mike Oldfield’s early works).

These compositions flourish in heartfelt manner, enveloping the listener in a glimmering cocoon of light and buoying them aloft. The tunes migrate through an assortment of sonic realms that embody optimistic panoramas devoted to endearing sedation. Psyches are encouraged into meditative states, then coaxed into lasting epiphanies with bewitching stimuli of genteel character. While ambience is keynote here, the gestalt is frequently tinged with rave trances and progressive sensibilities.

Overall: a superb opus of eternally rewarding scope.

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