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Senmuth - Ancientonica - 60%

ConorFynes, January 28th, 2011

As part of his most prolific year to date, it might be easy for Senmuth's 'Ancientonica' to get lost in the foray of his work. Be that as it may, the album does provide a slightly better listening experience than some of the other work he released close to the time this record came out. Like much of his work, the music here revolves around ancient culture and mythology, and paints large waves of exotic sound in order to transport the listener to another place and time. While parts of the album do have a way of taking the listener on a journey with them, the sparse magical elements are diluted by a somewhat lifeless execution, inconsistent songwriting, and a feeling that this music is nothing new when compared to the eighty-something albums Senmuth released prior to this.

Opening with '17870 лет до Менеса', the sound gently builds from silence to a downtempo, highly Middle-Eastern piece of music, with hints of cosmic electronics to give an otherworldly (or drug-induced) feeling to what would otherwise just be plain old ethno-ambient Senmuth. The slower tracks on the album are often backed up by very heavy and dominating percussion tracks, which when compared to the rest of the mix, feel loud and a bit overdone. The songwriting here is for the most part quite run-of-the-mill for Senmuth's odd, distinct style. Atonal, disorienting chord changes give the feeling the music is random, but there is an added structure here that's rarely heard on a Senmuth album.

The two highlights on the album are undoubtedly 'Tool of the Gods, Gods as a Tool', and the grandiose closing epic 'Existio Otra Humanidad', who easily takes the cake for being both the most atmospheric, and heavy track on the album. Of course, most of the songs here still suffer from the production and fake-sounding issues that Senmuth has contended with in the past, but as a whole, 'Ancientonica' does provide a better-than-average listening experience, at least as far as Senmuth's discography is concerned.