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Со(знание)бытия is not only a strange album title that can't really be accurately translated into any other language than Russian, it's also one of the weirdest releases in the whole Senmuth discography. This album is at first hand somehow a great overall introduction to the works of the Russian multi-instrumentalist. It's especially a great gimmick for a newbie but also enjoyable for the long time fans. Even though this is one of his albums that has no conceptual boundaries, almost no progressive touches and no coherent structure, it still offers a couple of new sounds we haven't heard before on any other album but I wish he would have exploited those new approaches in a better and deeper way.
The album kicks off with quite a surprise. The first tracks are not only danceable techno songs, they are also not comparable to other more commercial sounds made by Senmuth before. On his first albums, the danceable tracks had often a darker touch and could be described as dark wave tracks or even as Electronic Body Music. This time, the techno songs are much smoother and could be played in any independent discotheque. The tracks are catchy and memorable and have an easy approach. If you are a metal fan and are confronted with more closed minded friends that listen to radio music, you could have a great deal with the first songs of this album. They are interesting enough to grab your attention and add something new to the project's sound and simple enough to convince a larger public.
But just when you think that Senmuth creates a pop album with STUNNING songs like "Жизнь", he comes around with some of his most courageous experiments ever done. "Il Mia Incanto" is a slow paced atmospheric ambient tune that could fit to any nature documentary. It has a meditative touch and abandons the electronic upbeats of the first songs. As if he wanted to test the audience even further, he then comes around with "Раны Прошлого" which is one of his most progressive songs with weird changes of style and rhythm that remind me of technical extreme progressive metal bands. It's maybe some sort of homage to bands such as Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, Dream Theater, Voivod or even Martyr. This song also offers acomplete new sound to the world of our Russian genius Senmuth. It's a quite big surprise that a song with such an approach is listed on the same album as potential dance floor hits such as "Вербное [PreScriptum]".
In the second part of its record, Senmuth fuses everything he touched before to several interesting songs that vary from spacey touches to smooth folk passages but the songs are overall less surprising and extreme. They stretch the album a little bit and calm the confused followers of this project but I didn't think that this was truly necessary.
In the end, especially the first half of the record is worth to be checked out and offers two or even three extremely different styles as well as many surprises. Senmuth proves that he is not only unique and open-minded but also completely unpredictable. The final verdict would be that this courageous album is great little gem with many highlights and a few filler material towards the end that keep this record away from being an unexpected highlight in Senmuth's discography.
For all of his music's strengths and flaws, the works of Senmuth can be very frustrating to give a proper rating to. Many of the albums sound very similar to each other, which can make listening to each of the albums in sequence a increasingly less lenient and forgiving exercise. Also, within each album itself, there will be a great diversity of sections, or traits in the music that either 'work,' or don't work. 'cо(знание)бытия' seems to be an example of this; while I may have been tempted to give this my first single star rating for Senmuth upon the first listen of it, repeated listening has shown sections of the music that show alot of promise. As it stands however, 'cо(знание)бытия' is an uninspired, uncohesive and rather boring album that frankly gets annoying within a few minutes of listening.
The album begins up with a strange arabic-tinged dance intro, before firing up into a track that wouldn't sound out of place in a shallow Euro nightclub. Throughout the first section of the album, the music generally follows this path; at times even incorperating hip-hop influences that could have worked if they didn't sound so out of place in the music. The irritating vocal work of Senmuth is more distorted and overindulgent than ever here, and it only serves to deter from the enjoyment of the music. It feels here like no musical idea is developed here enough to make it 'memorable;' unless the listener gives the album many more listens than it seems to be worth. Throughout the heaps of mediocrity and banality here though, there are some moments that are enjoyable and show that despite releasing quite a few mediocre pieces, Senmuth is indeed a very talented composer. Towards the latter half of the album, there are songs such as 'Il Mia Incanto' which do without the obnoxious dance-electronic nature of the album and give an atmospheric repose. A few other tracks (such as 'Символика мгновений,' which while not being necessarily a memorable track, may very well be a relative highlight here) have sweeping synth arpeggios that are highly reminiscent of the band Muse.
While Senmuth is certainly a diverse artist in terms of the music he makes, many of his albums seem to fall into categories of their style. In parts, this album reminded me of an uninspired version of the project's debut, 'Cognitive Discord.' With so many other 'dance metal' albums in Senmuth's discography however, there is very little reason to check out 'cо(знание)бытия,' unless of course, you're like me and plan to listen to every album the man has produced.