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Crossover Prog • Finland

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UTU biography
Finnish band UTU states 2005 as their formative year, which is just about as much information thay have decided to reveal to the general public about themselves. They made their official debut with the digital single "Sailor / Calm Way to Go" in 2012, followed by their full length debut "Songs in Flesh Minor " in early 2013.

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UTU discography

Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help to complete the discography and add albums

UTU top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 4 ratings
Songs in Flesh Minor
3.10 | 2 ratings
Pieces Of The Unknown
5.00 | 1 ratings
Russian Poets

UTU Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

UTU Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

UTU Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

UTU Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
Sailor / Calm Way to Go

UTU Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Pieces Of The Unknown by UTU album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.10 | 2 ratings

Pieces Of The Unknown
UTU Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Already five weeks since my last PA review! Well, I've been very busy with my book script on Finnish prog all-time, but anyway I'm continuing my reviewing activity here - especially on new releases whenever I get them.

This one is the second album of UTU, a Finnish art/alt-pop group led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Petra Poutanen, also known as a member in the ethnic group AALTO . With only slight differences in line-up and instrumentation, Pieces of the Unknown continues in the vein of Songs in Flesh-minor (2012). Poutanen is a personal, modern female singer-songwriter comparable to e.g. Bj'rk or Regina Spektor, her smoky voice full of girlish sensitivity. The songs are, again, in a minor key and sort of introvert in spirit, as if the protagonist was a social outcast watching the sad world from a distance. Without a deeper dive into the lyrics I can't say if this image has anything to do with the artist's own intention.

On vague listening the album probably feels quite monotonous, joyless and too artsy for its own good. There may not be very memorable melodies, and the rather dry, ethnically flavoured sound featuring uncommon Instruments such as kantele, electric cello, viola -- and guzheng and sansula of which I have no clue -- rarely gives any easy hooks. But the more one concentrates on this music, the more rewarding it gets.

The dark-toned strings are effective on 'Safest Place', and Teemu kiiskil''s spatial guitar chords are beautifully interwoven with other Instruments on 'Skin' (which is inspired by novelist Monika Fagerholm). The 8-minute 'My Friend Sorrow' is the most progressive and dynamic composition. As a whole this album is emotionally strong and original music for dedicated listening. 3' stars.

 Songs in Flesh Minor by UTU album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.04 | 4 ratings

Songs in Flesh Minor
UTU Crossover Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Finnish UTU consists of musicians from Tampere and Helsinki. This is their only album so far. And this is (my translation of) how they describe their music themselves: "We are a mind-blowing group that makes new and individual art pop. Our storytelling is a mix of contrasts, between both acoustic & electronic and styles & dynamics. When asked, the style or genre is said to be a state of emotion." The leader and sole composer is Petra Poutanen who sings - in English - and plays acoustic guitar and kantele, being probably the only Finnish pop/rock (non-folk!) artist to play kantele.

Those rather bold words are not without truth. At least for a Finnish group - even with our historical/national instrument involved - this is quite original and fresh 'art pop' and actually in no way reveals what country it comes from. Petra's seducing and slighly creaked / fragile, girlish voice does resemble some English-speaking artists but I'm not sure who. JOAN NEWSOM is one of them, and this is not just an association due to the closeness of kantele and harp (not that kantele would be very audible in the sound, as harp is certainly in Newsom's music). There is a dash of BJÍRK in the singing style, but no, she's not among those I'm trying to remember now. How about Swedish SOPHIE ZELMANI, at least in the most delicate places? Anyway, the vocals are very much in the centre; in a blindfold test I'd think this is a singer-songwriter album. A highly artistic one, of course, but I probably wouldn't have had the guts to suggest UTU into ProgArchives. Glad they're added.

The group's acoustically oriented, slightly jazzy sound is nice, emphasized on delicate nuances instead of rocky sound walls. The songwriting is totally free of folk or Ethnic flavour in my opinion, but naturally kantele, jouhikko (I don't know its translation), viola and accordion bring such elements. The dry, slow and delicate percussion is present to a notable degree. Piano sometimes. As they said, dynamics change and there's a lot of contrasts. And yet the sound seems to have a thoroughly thought nature to make the whole very coherent.

The songs are mostly balancing between calmness and some sense of unease or self-search. As pop music this is not easy-listening stuff, and it probably takes some time to get into its introspective aura. My first impression wasn't very positive but now I'm enjoying this much more. My favourites are tracks full of dreaminess and emotion, such as 'I Try'. 'Today' is too much built on percussions in a way I don't like, but even that song has beautiful, more melodic sections, occasionally.

There aren't memorable melodies in this album but once you get into the wave-length it offers an interesting and emotionally deep listening experience. Not necessarily "prog" but so what. Recommended internationally to listeners of calm, female fronted art pop, who accept some jazz & folk nuances too.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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