Following ‘More than a Dream’ (2005) and ‘The Garden’ (2008), ‘Artificial’ is Unitopia’s third album and second to be released by InsideOut.
It’s a 10 part suite based on the themes of artificial intelligence and behavior and how we perceive ourselves as a society and as individuals. Covering topics such as; dealing with low self esteem, overcoming depression, feelings of nostalgia and a longing for the ‘good old days’ and man’s great leap forward in science and technology, ‘Artificial’ covers a roller-coaster of emotions, musical styles and flavours in a way that’s uniquely Unitopia.
As with all of Unitopia’s music, ‘Artificial’ ultimately gives the listener a positive conclusion to the above-mentioned themes.
Opening track ‘Suffocation’ sets the scene with a haunting drum loop and dark foreboding vocal. When it feels like the whole world is closing in on you, either through circumstances or the environment, you feel like you can’t breathe.
This track segue-ways seamlessly into ‘Artificial World’. In today’s Western society, there is an all consuming need to have ‘the right look’ and constantly re-shape our bodies through many different ways (including plastic surgery) in order to feel good about ourselves. The crazy thing about all that is that we hardly ever communicate face to face anymore! Does it really matter what we look like when we never actually see each other?
Track three is Unitopia’s tribute to ‘The Boys from Liverpool’. ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ is a Beatlesque, hook-laden song that asks the question ‘Were things better before all of this wonderful technology and progress came along?
‘Not Human Anymore’ has slightly Orwellian overtones, discussing the power of the individual over the corporate. Our ability to reason and think for ourselves, the one thing that ‘sets us apart from the animals’ is being eroded by the media and huge corporations. We don’t always make the effort to think for ourselves…the very thing that makes us human.
‘Tesla’ takes its name from Nikola Tesla, the Croatian inventor who is credited with inventing ‘Artificial Intelligence’. A very complex man who had trouble relating to people, preferring the company of pigeons, Tesla’s story can be mirrored in modern life, with the diminishing of human contact in a world of unlimited wonder and technological advancement. Obsessively compulsive, reclusive and self-alienating, he shut himself off from the rest of the world at times, but was also widely known for his showmanship, presenting his innovations and demonstrations almost like a magician.
Track six ‘Reflections’ deals with depression and lack of fulfillment in a person’s life while they maintain a brave face to all those around them.
‘The Power of 3’ is an orchestral interlude that sets up the themes for the next track, ‘Rule of 3’s’.
The song is all about patterns and the search for order in a sometimes chaotic world.
‘Gone in the Blink of an Eye’ is one of the most powerful songs that Unitopia has ever written. It’s a shot in the arm of complacency. Don’t ever take what you have for granted, because in an instant it could all be gone. Treat every day as precious, a gift, something to be treasured and held onto tightly.
The last track ‘The Great Reward’ is the anthemic grand finale, which takes many of the previous themes and ties them together into a stunning conclusion. Provoking the listener to take charge of their own destiny, trust themselves and move forward to better things. It is a positive an uplifting coda to what has gone before.