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Senmuth - Life of Songs / Songs of Life - 60%

ConorFynes, December 21st, 2010

LIFE OF SONGS

Essentially a best-of compilation for all of Senmuth's heavier material up to this point, judgng from the huge amount of albums from this act, a compilation or two is a very welcome prospect. With dozens of albums already available for download, it can appear overwhelming for a newcomer to get into the music of this vast Russian one man project. While I'm not usually for the concept of best-of compilations and feel that they usually detract from the experience of an album, the idea seems to work well in Senmuth's case. However, the reality of this particular product is that while naturally being a better place to start a trek with Senmuth with than the average album, it certainly does not reflect the most successful material from the first three years of the project's activity.

The best way to describe 'Life Of Songs' would be not as a best-of compilation, but a collection of the collaborations Senmuth has done with other artists over the course of three years. While there's a big dimension of Senmuth's music missing here, I would agree that some of his most effective work was with other singers, and for that fact alone, this is worth checking out. However, anyone new to the work of Senmuth should understand that this is not at all reflective of Senmuth's work in general; while the mainstay of the tracks here revolve around Senmuth's hyperactive industrial metal sound, he has been known to go in a much more progressive and ambient direction as of late.

That is really the biggest issue with 'Life Of Songs,' while many of the songs here would be considered some of his best work, there's so much of Senmuth's material that is instrumental, or mellow in nature that easily outdoes the majority of tracks here. With that in mind, this cannot be considered the definitive best-of compilation from this Russian project, but perhaps moreso just an interesting crash course to get a listener into the vast span of work that Senmuth has to offer.

SONGS OF LIFE

Released simultaneously with it's sister compilation 'Life Of Songs.' While it's counterpart may have focused mostly on the heavier, industrial side of this Russian experimental act, 'Songs Of Life' is the lighter contrast; taking the subjective cream of his more ambient and ethnic material and throwing it all together on this installment.

Many of my views and remarks about the other best-of compilation in this duology ring true with this one as well. While there are certainly some fantastic tracks here that deserve to be on the compilation, there's also quite a few tracks that might have done well here, instead of others that were chosen. In any case, 'Songs Of Life' is a little bit better overall than the heavier counterpart, and someone who wants a taste of the more progressive and forward thinking side of Senmuth would do well to check out this compilation, to see if the sound is right for them and spare them the labourious task of rummaging through dozens of albums to find something they like.

As it stands, this compilation could have been much better with a nicer flow and some revisions to the song choice. Some of the my favourite albums of the early period of Senmuth are represented here by some of the best songs, but there's still material that would have fit very snugly here. While this is indeed the lighter side of the compilation duology, there is still some heavy industrial metal here, giving a nicer bit of variety than the other. While I cannot recommend this too highly, it's a decent place to get started with Senmuth's admittedly daunting discography.