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AETHIOPIA

Senmuth

Experimental/Post Metal


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Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Admin / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars Ethnic experimentation is like an acid trip with a sitar.

Aetheopia explorers Senmuth's more ambient and ethnic side of things. Completely unlike his debut Cognitive Discord, there is almost no industrial metal filler or scratchy nonrhythmic and distorted instruments. This album was actually fun to listen to. The odd instruments used, the creative rhythms, the general ambiance of the music is very creative and can be very relaxing and, in a good way, haunting.

Africa is a great opener, featuring oddly misplaced Asian instruments and melodies. The rhythms, however, easily can be traced back to African descent. A great ethnic track.

Axum is a more African track, even featuring some ethnic Australian like beats. The music has all together a nice rhythm, with eerie melodic sections.

Eritrea is a more upbeat and fun rhythmic track, featuring more odd percussion and ethnic instruments. The melody is odd and exciting, with even a more pop based feel. A great track overall.

Omo has a more Native American ethnic feel, with some primitive percussion and flute soloing.

Lalibela is another Native American like track, with some "Asian fusion." More ethnic instruments are used with creative rhythm beats again.

Dungur has a more Far East feel than the others, with an Asian percussion feel also.

Awasa is a more African song this time, using creative and traditional African polyrythmic beats with great effect. The song takes a little while to build and doesn't change much.

Thaka Mariam is one of the more creative songs on a creative album, adding a bit of choral work as well as creative percussion beats. The dynamics and feel of the song change a few times throughout the song, making it one of the better tracks on the album. This song is also the only song to feature an actual guitar solo, which is a great change of pace.

Nobatia starts slow but builds into a writhing, changing, and very creative song. Another great track on this surprising album.

Tiya, the closer, has a much more ambient feel than the other bombastic ethnic fusion songs. This song also has a guitar solo, which is creative and different from the rest. A great track also.

ALBUM OVERALL: Aethepoia is a very creative album that greatly differs from his other industrial metal albums, which, in my opinion, are not even in the slightest good. Every song has a creative percussion beat, which, as a drummer, is a great change of pace from traditional drum kit work. Definitely a great album. Even though the ethnic tracks are obviously from some kind of keyboard, I like that kind of sound. 3+ stars

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#306953)
Posted Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Aethiopia' - Senmuth (6/10)

While the idea of ethnic folk experimentation is certainly nothing new to Senmuth, there are few that seem to have the same blend of ambiance, melody and composition that 'Aethiopia' is graced with. While much of the music crafted by this Russian one man project shows alot of promise, seldom does the music really seem to come out on it's own, instead feeling contrived and listless more often than not (at least in this middle-portion of his career). Such is a joy with that in mind, when an album like this comes along after a few less-than-satisfying releases, that while not a far cry from the style of the others, feels as if there has been a greater attention to detail here, and the music is more rewarding as a result.

To someone that has never heard the music of Senmuth before, the music Senmuth makes ranges from the crushingly heavy, to lulling ambiance; there is little middle ground in what he does. With such a great deal of albums, it is inevitable for many to come out feeling undercooked, but 'Aethiopia' does manage to achieve what many others failed; a degree of melody and structure. The mood of the music (being rather unsettling and dark) is still here in as strong a force as it was with each other album, but the way it is conveyed has a much more intentional feeling. Instead of wandering from chord to chord, Senmuth uses a great deal of repetition in his musical ideas, with a particular concentration on tribal percussive patterns. The result is that of a hypnotizing piece of music that can function fairly well as background music, but 'Aethiopia's strength lies in the fact that it has just enough musical ideas of sufficient strength to maintain a listener's attention, albeit just barely.

As with most Senmuth albums, the sound here is largely artificial and feels as such, but the arrangements are quite well done and surprisingly intricate in parts, considering how quickly the album was put out. Although there are still some Senmuth albums that are better than this one, 'Aethiopia' does seem to show that Senmuth's somewhat disappointing streak of albums over the past five or six seems to be at an end. Quite a good new age ethnic album, for anyone whose taste the style suits.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#372206)
Posted Monday, January 03, 2011 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars Ethiopia is south to Egypt and regardless the Rasta thing was part of the Egyptian kingdom and had some important roles in the ancient history. This is probably the reason why Senmuth dedicated one whole album of his ambient side to this land.

"Africa" is a complex track but it looks more like a patchwork. After few minutes the ethnic beginning is suddenly replaced by a techno interlude and then goes back to ethnic, but it takes some time to return back to the main theme. Not bad but it's leading nowhere and is missing that power of evocate images that was the best aspect of "Internal Images".

"Axum" is a famous Egyptian site in Ethiopia. Its Egyptian obelisk was stolen by the Italian fascists in the 30s, installed in Rome and given back only recently. Nice to know, maybe, but there's nothing of all that in this instrumental. Not much different from the previous track it has a melodic line with pitch changes that seem to be random, but at least there's some good guitar throughout the track.

"Eritrea" is a nation that's suffering of one of the many civil (and not) wars which are bleeding Africa since years. This track is mainly ethnic for what concerns the instruments, but the rhythm has an unexpected "reggae" flavour. Well, it's not reggae at all, but it's a bit unusual for Senmuth. Interesting even if there's almost no melodic line.

"Omo" is a short interlude but one of the best things of the album. Flute and percussions remind me to Pink Floyd's More. Unfortunately it's less than two minutes long.

The album's quality improves while proceeding. "Lalibela" ,too, is based mainly on flute and percussions. It's like a mix of Peter Gabriel and Vangelis (strange mix isn't it?). The first for the percussion, the second for the flute and the melody.

"Dungur" brings us back to the normal dark side of Senmuth. After a promising start it falls into the "leading nowhere problem" of the first two tracks. It's a pity because some goods are listenable here and there.

"Awasa" is a percussions based song on which the dark melody is not too invasive. It's one of the album's tracks that I like most.

"Tahka Mariam" was an ancient king (so says metal-archives.com). It has a strong tribal mood. Percussions, African choir and flute introduce a very interesting track with some newage flavour. It's one of the less dark things ever made by Senmuth even if the sound of his guitar is not properly "happy". if all the songs were like this, it could have been a five stars album.

"Nobatia" was an ancient Christian king (still from metal-archives). Also this track is largely dominated by the percussions, and like the previous one has a consistent structure even if we can't speak of melody.

"Tiya", the closer, is an average track still based on percussions and repetitive. Good for krautrockers.

If it wasn't for the false start of the first tracks this would have been a very good album. Hoping to find more "percussions and flute" stuff in the next albums I can't rate this one more than 3 stars.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#425321)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2011 | Review Permalink

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