STUTS - Eutopia


"So this utopia, this perfect place, recalls all the old dreams of a perfect world, of a Golden Age, of a time and place when things were better...and misery had no existence."

― STUTS, "Eternity"

The word "utopia" originally comes from the Greek for "no place," that is, an imaginary place described in detail that cannot/does not exist in reality. However, "eutopia," is derived from the Greek for "good place," which is the meaning of a paradise or place better than anything in current existence, the interpretation we are most familiar with.

In choosing "Eutopia" as the title of his second album, STUTS is here to show us his ideal vision, and it sure is stunning. STUTS may have built his career as a master of the MPC and is highly regarded in hip-hop circles worldwide for his dope beats, but “Eutopia” offers further proof that he is too creative and interesting to be limited to any one genre. This album takes you on a tour of his musical utopia, where genre labels are meaningless, and every sound and sample has an innate beauty that can be arranged and reconfigured for use in any setting. “Eutopia” conjures up various images of paradise, from the opening intro sampling birds singing and children playing, to the warm soul of “Dream Away,” the tropical vibes of “Breeze,” the cosmic wonder of “Never Been,” and outdoing Madonna with “FANTASIA” as the perfect track for a U.S. desert road trip featuring none other than 一十三十一 (Hitomi Toi), the Japanese poster girl for exotic getaways. She’s only one of a stacked lineup of diverse contributors, the album of course features rappers like 鎮座DOPENESS, C.O.S.A and Kid Fresino, but also jazz singer Maya Hatch, bassist nakayaan of mitsume, guitarist Ohgi Akihiko of Zainichi Funk, and more.

As a crate digger, STUTS shares some of the aesthetics of Shibuya-kei in sampling old jazz and latin records for those key flute lines and string sections from the 50’s and 60’s (“Paradise,” “Voyager”) to pair with his 90’s era hip-hop beats, but despite primarily using the MPC for sampling and production to date, “Eutopia” has a very organic feel as this time band musicians (mentioned above) were brought into the studio to expand on his original chords and melodies. These session instrumental parts were then sampled, processed, looped and triggered creatively, which is STUTS’ expertise at work. It's quite an evolutionary step from his previous album "Pushin," which was mostly created from existing samples, and provides this album with more natural musical phrasing.

Drawing from key sounds and genres throughout history, STUTS has created an inclusive eutopia for everyone to enjoy, not just hip-hop heads. He has a deep respect for the quality of sounds from the past, and this is partly a celebration of classic jazz, latin, funk, soul and hip-hop over time, while offering something new in combination or manipulation as well as his own creative input. It is exactly as described, this "Eutopia" recalls memories of days gone by, when things seemed better by virtue of being simpler, but are only a distant dream to us now. It's STUTS' world - I sure wish we were living in it.

01. Eutopia Intro
02. Dream Away feat. Phum Viphurit
03. Ride feat. G Yamazawa, 仙人掌 & Maya Hatch
04. Pursuit
05. Breeze feat. Daichi Yamamoto
06. Paradise (Ever Green)
07. Sticky Step feat. 鎮座DOPENESS & Campanella
08. Circle Interlude
09. Above the Clouds feat. 長岡亮介, C.O.S.A. × KID FRESINO & asuka ando
10. Never Been
11. Voyager
12. FANTASIA feat. 一十三十一
13. Eutopia
14. Eternity
15. Changes feat. JJJ

Royce Leong