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Senmuth - Expanding Architecture - 60%

ConorFynes, January 28th, 2011

As an ambient work released by the Russian experimental project Senmuth during the latter half of 2010, it could be quite easy for Senmuth's dive into space-age atmosphere 'Expanding Architecture' to go virtually unnoticed, especially during a year when the ridiculously prolific artist released more albums than there are months to write them with. However, while this subtle voyage through space is still relatively mundane when compared to more energetic, structured music, Senmuth does give a different vibe and atmosphere here than with the majority of his work, which tarries primarily with earthly, ancient matters.

In terms of structure and composition, the majority of the music here shows Senmuth at some of his most loose, obviously putting more of an attention on soundscapes and textures over a more traditional musical narrative. However, songs like the somewhat driven 'Nebula Canvas' break the spacey soundscapes with a bit more of a conventional Senmuth jam. However, while much of this music does feel improvised and a bit too scattered to provide a truly memorable experience, there is a surprising amount of detail to listen for, although many of these small flourishes are nearly impossible to detect until the second or third listen.

Possibly 'Expanding Architecture's biggest strength over many of the lesser works is it's proper use of sound. While many of the instruments used in Senmuth's work are just computer synthesizers meant to sound like any number of exotic instruments, the music here sounds quite a bit more professional, in no small part to due to the fact that the subject matter this time around revolves almost entirely around the cosmos. Without having to concentrate too much on a 'folk' sound, Senmuth is able to use electronics more properly without sounding tacky, and it generally works quite well here.

The music here is reminiscent of Vangelis' 'Blade Runner' soundtrack, or even of some of the more soundscape-oriented ambient tracks from the film '2001: A Space Odyssey'. With that in mind, someone looking for a somewhat cinematic experience will find solace in 'Expanding Architecture', although for all intents and purposes, the album still remains firmly in the category of background music.