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Senmuth - Ankhiteru - 60%

ConorFynes, December 13th, 2010

After six years of work with his Senmuth project, multi-instrumentalist and inhumanly prolific composer Valery Av is certainly showing that his craft is improving greatly over time. While alot of his work seems to have lacked polish, structure or depth in the past, works like his 2010 effort 'Ankhiteru' go to prove that Senmuth certainly has the means to create an exotic and engaging piece of work. Although the album falls very deeply within the realm of his ethno- ambient material, the sensible use of melody and uplifting atmosphere make the album a pleasant piece of work, although it still lacks the cohesion and conviction that a really excellent album might have had.

Despite not being an absolutely captivating listen, 'Ankhiteru' shows that Senmuth seems to have perfected the art of translating an ancient culture into music. Here, Senmuth demonstrates his fascination with Indian art and music and focuses the music around it, although there are a few heavier rock music elements thrown in, to give a very fusion-based vibe. However, what works to this album's benefit is that the heavier sections are used in moderation; past albums demonstrated that overuse of crushing guitar distortion in an otherwise ambient album tended to ruin the flow. In 'Ankhiteru,' the sparse guitarwork is used very effectively (usually to emphasize a climax), especially in the album's dynamic closer 'Штормовая Стела.'

While there is definately more of a melodic feel to 'Ankhiteru' than most other ethnic Senmuth records, even more melodic presence could have done even bigger things for the music. When Senmuth wants to write an interesting melody, he can certainly accomplish it; the central theme around 'Восхваление Нила II' goes to show.

This album does not stand above and beyond all of it's peers, but the fact stands that 'Ankhiteru' is a valid and enjoyable listen. And with a man as inspired and devoted to music as Valery Av, time will only see the work of Senmuth improve.