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Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Light, Sound, Sacral Geometry & Energy' - Senmuth (4/10)

With such a vast amount of albums already done, it must be a very difficult task for Russian artist Senmuth to come up with original pieces of work to dish out. While he has achieved some fresh sounding albums in places, a great deal of his work seems as if it is being replayed on different albums; the details may be different, but the general feel and sound of the music is the same. With the verbosely titled 'Light, Sound, Sacral Geometry & Energy,' Senmuth takes the indian/raga sound that was developed on albums like 'Precession' and 'Rajas,' and explores the region again, adding perhaps a dash more of an electronic influence here. While the music is well-executed for an indie production and there is good intelligence to the composition, the lack of exploration that really makes music inspiring and passionate is really lacking here, making for a painfully mediocre experience.

Admittedly, my expectations were a little higher for 'Sacral Geometry' than the majority of Senmuth albums. The album appeared to be bound by some abstract concept of eastern spiritualism, which suggested to me that this was going to be a much more engaging and thoughtful production of Senmuth's than might be usual. However, everything from the synthesized piano and sitar to the cheaply emulated orchestral sounds make for a generally lacking sense of feeling and vibrance to music that may have been alot more enjoyable, had it the touches of human musicianship.

The compositions are generally quite well structured; multiple layerings of sound are programmed throughout the mix, and for this, we must give Senmuth credit. While this may not be as enjoyable a recording as one might hope, it is impressive that one man could arrange all of this music in such a short period of time. While this is ambient music first and foremost, there is definately a level of structure to the music that doesn't reveal itself until after a few full listens have been achieved. Even then however, there's still quite a bit of human passion, variety, and melodic presence missing from this operation.

Certainly not one of Senmuth's better albums; this ambient raga piece may be avoided by anyone not looking for something of the vein. An interesting attempt at binding album concept has been done here however, which is a hopeful prospect for potential future Senmuth albums.

Report this review (#333456)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars After a very pleasent minute of new-age like music featuring the acoustic guitar that's becoming a distinctive component of the best Senmuth, the first track falls into the usual sequence of chords that seem to be randomly placed in sequence by a computer. Well, I don't think it's random, as the arrangements are too complex to be a computer thing, but this is unfortunately the final effect.

It's a pity because the concept of an album divided into the three "keys": Light, Sound and Sacral Geometry and the energy of the personal spiritual way, and the affinities with himself, planets and Galaxy is very promising. Not that "Light" is bad, it's just too unstructured. It has good moments, specially those featuring the acoustic (nylon strings?) guitar, but it seems that he has to be dark at any price.

"Sound" starts with a spacey crescendo. Knowing Senmuth one knows already what to expect: a metallic explosion of techno-drums or alternatively a dark newage song. This time it's the second case. With this concept I would have hoped to hear a spacey mixture of sounds like in some parts of "Planetary Dust". Also this track is everything but bad, but it looks like a missing opportunity to create a masterpiece from a good conceptual idea, so even if about to bring us to the deep space the music is too terrestrial. However the central part of the track, since about minute 5 until it becomes darker is quite good and in the overall I consider it a 3-stars track.

"Sacral Geometry" is an interesting concept. I don't know a thing of what it means, but it may have to do with the Platonic world of solids. Listening to the music it may have to do with almost everything. It's a dark track that doesn't contain the usual ethnic elements but also this doesn't go nowhere. Good for a movie soundtrack but not enough for a spiritual journey as this album seems pretending to be.

Now the energy: the Personal Spiritual Way looks more appropriate to its title. The percussions can give the idea of somebody walking following a path, but also here the chords appear to be chosen randomly by a software program.

Apart of guessing that "Ahn" means "Energy", the one of the personal affinity features some "ooh" vocals and is one of the best things of the album. It would have been good leaving the duty to sing to some of his usual guests like Annie Red Hat or Nastya Turenkova (NeNasty).

The "Planetary Affinity" is even less spacey. It's a good track, indeed. The rhythm is hypnotic but it suddenly turns into techno, at least in the sounds. Here we can hear some of the ethnic he has made us familiar with.

Let's see what the galaxy brings. Unfortunately it's the most disconnected album's track, but it features female vocals even if distorted and singing a sort of indian melody. No vocalists (there's a man too) are mentioned on the sleeve.

As I have written, I consider this album a missed opportunity, but it's not rubbish, so it can achieve the status of good but non-essential.

Report this review (#414443)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As Senmuth's first epic albums with overlong tunes entitled "Evolution: Exodus" was a rather calm, hypnotizing and often honestly said boring record, I didn't expect very much from his new epic output about the harmonious beginnings of the world's beginning. While this album is very calm and introspective, there is though a lot of diversity, creativity and genius to find in here and Senmuth got me once more by surprise. This album is easily amongst his strongest records.

I really like the calm, floating and dreamy interludes and closing minutes of the songs. I also adore the fact that each track has a very distinctive sound. I'm happy about the fact that Senmuth worked in a minimalistic manner but chose only his best melodies to slowly develop them and progress them towards a majestic perfection as every single small variation is really thought out.

The first three tracks sound like monumental symphonies with majestic keyboard passages that remind me in their best and lightest moments of Tangerine Dream in "The First Key Of A Harmonious Component: Light" and in their bleakest and most gripping moments of instrumentals written by The Vision Bleak as it can be heard in "The Third Key Of A Harmonious Component: Sacral Geometry".

The last four songs have more ethno and world music influences. They can include majestic female chants like in "Khas Koo Ahn" or even some folk passage that could come from Scotland or Ireland and might musically accompany some old pirate tales like in "Shree Ann".

Senmuth is very creative and diversified in here and the long running times of the songs allow the melodies to develop, to become philosophical and truly intense the more one listens to this album. You need some patience, concentration and time to get an open mind for this album but it is way more accessible as "Evolution: Exodus" was and this strong grower already impressed me at first sight and sound.

In the end, this album is not only an excellent background music or would be a perfect soundtrack to any ethnic documentary movie but is also overall one of his best experiments and worth to get your time and attention. It's not his most original work as we have already heard some of his influences in many albums before but the record is so precise, intelligent and worked out that this component almost doesn't matter anymore. There is not much metal about this record, it is in fact completely absent of heavy guitars and similar instruments. Any fan of progressive new age music with some electronic influences and loads of creativity should get well entertained, surprised and completely absorbed by this great record, though.

Originally published on on September 1st of the year 2011.

Report this review (#508422)
Posted Wednesday, August 24, 2011 | Review Permalink

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