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Without a doubt one of Senmuth's stranger albums thematically, 'Exouniverse' draws it's inspiration not from the typical exotic cultures of multi-instrumentalist Valery Av's fascination, but from the metaphysics of the universe, beyond our solar system. Mirroring this otherworldly concept is the use of a greater presence of electronics, when compared to other albums by this Russian artist. Despite a few fundamental flaws in the way the music is written, Senmuth's 'Exouniverse' is an interesting ambient work.
Possibly now best described as 'experimental world rock', Senmuth alway manages to throw in an impressive melange of styles into his music. Everything from electronic to folk to metal and everything in between, there's not much else that sounds quite like the music of Valery Av. Without a doubt, 'Exouniverse' is a bit of a more experimental approach to Senmuth's work. Sonic experiments such as 'Galaxies Merge' show Valery going as far as to literally merge two different pieces of music together, to create something very chaotic. While the sentiment and intention of this is very cool, the end result is something that sounds way too muddy and wonton to produce any real effect.
As with many of Senmuth's works, this is very ambient in nature, meaning that more often than not, the music will slip into the background, acting moreso as mood-setting music over an all-encompassing experience. This might be the biggest flaw for Senmuth, as the music does lack the power and energy of engaging music, but contends with too much structure and dryness to work completely as an ambient work. This is the large issue that ultimately deters from great enjoyment of 'Exouniverse'.
For an album that was crafted in a remarkably short time however, 'Exouniverse' is quite an impressive work. Some interesting, engaging musical ideas (especially in the electronic atmospherics and bass lines) and some partially successful sound experiments make for an album that brings something to the table, even if Senmuth has a great deal of albums that cover very similar grounds.
By far one of the most prolific musicians to ever grace this dusty speck of a planet, Senmuth channels several feelings of insignificance and minuteness through your headphones and into your soul. Senmuth's music ages in numbers, rather than time. Throughout his career, listeners have been able to grow and mature with each passing album. If they've got the time that is. In a world where hearing 10 albums is normally a band's full legacy, that is merely scratching the surface of this epic and complex undertaking that is Senmuth.
The theme here is space, as with several other of Senmuth's works. What sets this apart is the calm tranquility the synths and atmosphere provide, nurturing you through your lifetime of exploration throughout the album. This album is pure ear candy, as each time you listen intently, you're still not going to pick up on all the subtle and creative pieces of instrumentation. It's incredibly difficult to even imagine all of the different sounds or instruments portrayed, as their numbers are gargantuan. In a few songs, the synth is so real and rich, I actually couldn't tell if it was a real piano playing or not. Sometimes the synths take control, while at others the main focus is the hauntingly firm acoustic strings, while occasionally, some chunky metal riffs take over (what an off the wall concept - metal riffs on a metal album!).
Atmosphere is everything on this album. It can range from being spacious and bleak (deep space), to a relaxing form of warmth, not all that removed from lying on a dry sand dune. Other times the atmosphere bleeds the practice of being sneaky and mysterious. At times you'll feel the warmth of the center of a star staring directly in your face, and at others you'll be subjected to the total and complete freeze of space to your bones. The guitars (as seen in Cosmology Singularity) are very comforting, emotional, and finalized. Each note is carefully placed as to fit in with the others as good as they possibly can. The same can be said for the percussion, as it compliments every melody and every section with it's own casual and collective style. While the drums are never aggressive or actually metal for that matter, they don't need to be. Metal drums would only set this album off balance, and would ruin any chance of this album fitting together coherently.
The level of professionalism in music doesn't get any higher than this. Everything is beyond crystal clear, with everything emphasized to perfection. There's something about this album that takes an extreme amount of luck and precision to hit just right. Exouniverse is literally a journey through space. As you bounce off stars, zoom past planets, stall out among the dust clouds, and feel the chill of space to your bone, you'll realize this. Not only will this music open your mind, it will portray some of the rawest and most mindful emotions directly to your soul like a black hole absorbing a far off galaxy. This album flows beautifully, thoughtfully, and with purpose the entire way. Highly recommended.
Highlights are: Synchronous Creation of Space, Galaxies Merge, Cosmology Singularity, Dark Invisible Weight