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Released only a couple of months after the excellent Chambers, Senmuth’s third 2010 album is the remarkable Deathknowledge & Lifeperception, a relatively similar album both in terms of musical nature and in overall quality.
Deathknowledge & Lifeperception is another one of Senmuth’s many, many neoclassical/ambient albums, this one being described as Ethno Orchestral Experimental Music by its prolific creator. That tag is especially valid because of the presence of the word orchestral: this album is much more oriented towards classical music than its ambient predecessor (Chambers). The keyboards and programming are used to create a more grandiose atmosphere, evocative of an actual orchestra playing but much more subtle than what an actual sound-by-sound imitation would result in (there’s no ultra-grandiose keyboard sounds as in modern Dimmu Borgir here, everything is kept moderate in that department).
In terms of the nature of their sound, Senmuth’s ambient instrumental albums tend to have a rather similar sound between them even when the overall effect (for example, orchestral or not) is taken into consideration. One can, however, arguably claim that Deathknowledge & Lifeperception is one the more complex side of the Senmuth discography, at least on the more complex side of the sample of that discography which I’ve heard as of today. The intricacy of the arrangements is impressive, mixing Senmuth’s usual subtle folk sounds with the keyboard melodies which make a standard ambient album, discreet and distant percussion sounds and a final, hovering orchestral sound that is woven into the music in a way which makes it hard to analyze on its own.
One very likeable aspect of Deathknowledge & Lifeperception, and in this regard it resembles albums such as the great Exouniverse and perhaps the older Planetary Dust, is the recurrence of the cosmic themes within the music and the artwork. The album, in keeping with Senmuth’s interest for industrial music, has that powerful spacey feeling which is also detectable in Samael’s mid-era material. This theme is mixed with a relatively melancholic mood prevailing all through the album, despite a few scattered moments of positive hope.
Once again, Senmuth has succeeded in creating another masterful instrumental ambient album in the form of Deathknowledge & Lifeperception. It’s another worthy addition to an already huge Senmuth catalogue full of great music which takes considerable efforts to explore. But those efforts are almost always well rewarded.