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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars So, the myth says that during the "Wolf City" sessions (or after that) the band split into two sections due to quarrels, leaving Olaf Kübler and Lothar Meid alone to record a separate project under the name "UTOPIA". But in the meantime, they all made peace again so the remaining members of AMON DUUL II tribe participated in the making of this album. Original LP bears the title "Utopia" only, while the re-issued CD format added the name of AMON DUUL II, probably for commercial reasons because this one and only album of UTOPIA project would be otherwise doomed for oblivion.

It is sort of by-product of the "transition phase" of AMON DUUL II towards more guitar-oriented conventional rock structures of "Vive la Trance", but it still retains (not only in the cover art) certain "Gothic" and dark elements of "Wolf City"- notable is the reprise of the Teutonic satire "Deutsch Nepal" from that album (with slightly different and weaker German vocal). "What You Gonna Do" is a nice folksy-rock attempt sung by Renate, while "Alice" with "romantic" piano and drunken male vocal sounds like taken from some bluesy Tom Waits record. "Las Vegas" is a quite catchy with repetitive acoustic guitars and sax-driven hypnotic instrumental jam, while the title track is a perfect example of Kraut-rock; processed voices, Mellotrons, electronic effects, jazzy guitar jams, strong and diverse percussion, groovy bass and overall psycho/space feeling. The final track, as its title suggests, is a pure and quite excellent jazz-rock loaded with electric piano, mighty percussion and a solo part that can be a processed guitar, or sax or trumpet, or synth... I wouldn't know since I am no tech expert. It is perhaps an influence from their cousin-band EMBRYO.

This fine album is strongly recommended to prog-listeners and I hope this review of mine will not remain as the only one for a long time.

Report this review (#53684)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Utopia is an excellent side project by some Amon Düül II members. The reissue credits the album to Amon Düül II though it was originally released by the title "Utopia" only. The first track is "What You Gonna Do?". It's a nice track sung by Renate, starting like a conventional rock song that turns into a jam. The second track "The Wolfman Jack Show" seems to be influenced by the Beatles song "Come Together", featuring saxophones and stuff. The third track is a beautiful satire song "Alice (O.P.)" played with piano.

"Las Vegas (O.P.)" is a jazzy track featuring again saxophone(s). "Deutsch Nepal" is a great powerful track and features a speech by "a german politician". Very futuristic sound! "Utopia No. 1" is a kind of "futuristic" revisit to "Las Vegas (O.P.)".

"Nasi Göring/Goreng" is my favourite track and seems like something from the movie "Clockwork Orange". It's an amazing composition, really excellent track. The last track on the original album was "Jazz Kiste(1)" which is a strange sounding jazzy track.

I have the year 2000 reissue of the album by Bell Musik, in which the three original bonus track are now companied with three new bonus tracks. On the first reissues of the album there was an error with "wrong" bonus tracks.The original bonus tracks seem now be the "correct ones", so they really are the tracks noted in the sleeve. Track no. 10 is however "Dancing On Fire" on this reissue. "Surrounded By The Stars" is an excellent powerful track with heavy drumming sound. "Dancing On Fire" is a funny dance track. "Deutch Nepal/Rolf Zacher Voc" is a different version of "Deutch Nepal" featuring Rolf Zacher in vocals as obvious.

"Goldrush" features exciting violin sound that makes an "eastern feel" to it. "Star Eyed" reminds some old german pop tune from the "old days" but with "rock flavour". "Dr. Stein" is a cathy whistling song.

I received this album a few weeks ago and I seem to like it more every time I listen it. It has a very futuristic (or utopian?) feel to it on many tracks. All in all, this is an excellent album.

Report this review (#63833)
Posted Monday, January 9, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3.5 stars

Utopia band was born from Amon dull II's scission during "Wolf city" recording. An odd and unequal album where little gems are blended with atrocious pieces.

Here i review the "Garden of delights" release which features several bonus tracks.

Let's begin with the good pieces:

"Las vegas" is a quite short psychedelic space tune featuring a shiny saxo playing a repetitive melody, with an aerial and lively accompaniment (flute) which can reminds of Gong, at least in the mind. "Nasi Goreng" is not bad, with many keyboards, overall very jazzy and with a little symphonic touch making it sound more English than classic Amon Dull II.

The "Utopia" piece is very good, in the "Las vegas" vein with a cosmic sound due to synthe, reminiscent of the good old Amon dull II.

"Jazz-Kiste" is excellent also, a trippy psychedelic jazzrock tune with distorted wha wah keyboards, reminiscent of Embryo/Rocksession. There's only few electric guitar throughout the album but really excellent!

What's left varies from average -"What You Gonna Do" is quite gentle and binary, "Deutsh Nepal" is close to Wolf city's cover- to actrocious : "Surrounded By The Stars", alternative cover than the "Wolf city" one is a long and horrible track with extremely binary drums, an awful primary hard rock.

The three bonus are short but interesting.

To sum up, a heteroclite album where you'll find the best and the worst.

Report this review (#78207)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This album has been recorded under the name Utopia but for me it's just an other crappy effort by the disconcerted Amon Duul UK (Whatever if it is said to be recorded during sessions of "Wolf City"). If you are into the seminal psychedelic epics of Amon Duul II I advise you to forget Utopia. It's a mediocre collection of happy, light rocking songs, including a lot of naïve, commercial melodic lines. A few songs as "The wolfman Jack Show" incarnates a heavy stoned rock, but the result sounds conventional. This album contains no new ideas and sounds indulgent. "What you gonna do" and the pseudo-romantic "Alice" are the worst things I've heard from the last Amon Duul, totally inconsistent and dramatic in the choice of mainstream melodies and piano arrangements. "Las Vegas" is a cheesy, jazzy exotic composition. To avoid!
Report this review (#127932)
Posted Monday, July 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tom Ozric
4 stars Here's another Amon Duul II album - oh, wait a minute - it could be a Lothar Meid solo effort - or, UTOPIA !! I remember seeing LP's of this lumped in with others by Todd Rundgren's band of the same name - same prices as those common records, too. The songs on this album sound very close to ADII, and the quality is as good. I don't understand why this release isn't favoured here at PA, it features many of the traits which made the 'Mothership' so exciting. The first track 'What You Gonna Do' is a straight-ahead rocker, with Renate Knaup singing, always nice to hear her distinctive voice. 'Wolf-Man Jack Show' is a weird song, with Jimmy Jackson at the mysterious 'Choir Organ' (giving off a stranger sound than Mellotron choirs), which he actually utilised on many tracks to good effect. The Bass riff here is almost snatched straight from THE BEATLES' 'Come Together', played German style. 'Alice' is a sweet love song. The tune itself is care-free and up-lifting, and has Lothar playing Mellotron flutes. I can't help but be reminded of Kevin Ayers on this one. 'Las Vegas' is a hippy-sounding jam with congas, jazzy sax playing and a nose-flute !!

'Deutsch Nepal' is a re-make of the song of the same name from 'Wolf City'. It's heavy sound and strange 'vocal' from guest Rolf Zacher makes it an excellent example of Krautrock. 'Utopiat No.1' is another hippy jam (strikingly similar to 'Las Vegas') but features those searing organs from Jimmy Jackson and Falk Rogner too, Olaf Kubler toying around with a Moog Synth, and bizarre echoed vocals from Meid. Man, I love this stuff. 'Nasi Goreng' is a Hammond-heavy instrumental with strong melodies, and light oriental moments (of course, with a title like that). The album finishes up with 'Jazz-Kiste', probably the master-piece composition of the album - starring PASSPORT's Christian Schulze on electric-piano and EMBRYO's Edgar Hoffman playing amazing 'wah-wah' soprano sax almost throughout. Overall, this 'Utopia' is not a revolutionary extravaganza, but I find its contents worthwhile and satisfying.

Report this review (#156034)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Often listed as an Amon Düül II album, this project got more ties with the fusion band Passport then with Amon Düül II. Of course, the ADII nucleus of Karrer, Weinzierl and Knaup are all making guest appearances, but from the regular Utopia line-up only Lothar Meid (original Passport member) has some ADII credibility.

ADII had turned into more commercial directions since Lothar Meid joined for Wolf City and it's a direction that is also evident here. All songs would fit nicely on either Wolf City or the ensuing Vive La Trance, and most of them are rather art-rockish and flat in terms of quality. Generally the material sits somewhere inbetween Hawkwind's Amazing Stories and Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. It's only where the band takes a jazzier direction that the album has a few enjoyable moments, such as the Gong-alike Utopia No1 and Nucleus-alike Jazz Kiste.

A faceless album that is only worth seeking out if you are a huge fan of ADII's Vive La Trance and Hijack albums. Compared to the real AD II masterpieces, this easily flowing art-rock is quite a step down.

Report this review (#384600)
Posted Saturday, January 22, 2011 | Review Permalink

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