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"Rajas" is one of Senmuth's most important and profound albums about philosophy and spiritualism. It seems that especially Hindu and Bouddhism play an important role within this record. The Russian multi-instrumentalist mixes inspiring folk vibes with inoffensive and relaxing guitar riffs. For the first time, he also introduces some jazz influences to his music which makes this album stand out.
The great thing about this album is that even though it's once again a conceptual record, every song has its own style, attitude and atmosphere. This may even be one of Senmuth's most diversified records from the early years. On the negative side, there is only the fact that the album lacks a little bit of coherence at some points and is maybe too diversified against its own good. This doesn't mean that this isn't a great album as there is no bad song or filler on here which makes this record easily the best one coming from Senmuth out of the year 2006. This one merits your time, attention and money and if you are one of those part time fans that simply don't always have the chance to follow the large discography of Senmuth, this here is one of those albums you must check out and can't skip.
Every single song has a great mixture between a spiritual and almost hypnotizing atmosphere and some diversified vivid elements that make the single songs very particular.
Just to give you a couple of examples, there is the opener "Ethnic Whole Dynamics" that has a truly catchy flow and mixes folk influences with addicting metal riffs. This track would be one of the first tracks I would chose to present the music of Senmuth to somebody who doesn,t know anything about it and would like to get a brief introduction. The next track "Sattwa" convinces with some great folk drums, interesting shrieking guitar riffs that almost sound like flutes and some well hidden didgeridoo sounds. "Bemini Roads" has some electronic influences and sounds pretty modern. It reminds me of the dark wave and gothic metal sounds of the project’s earliest records. It is almost danceable, but still diversified and touched by a mysterious atmosphere. "Saraswaty" is another great track one must mention. It’s generally more metal orientated and employs a passage with atmospheric male and female chants that probably come from India. Some acoustic guitars and mandolins add a special flavour to this diversified track and one must also point out the amazing diversified drum patterns even if they may only be samples. Everything sounds authentic and addicting on this album highlight. Every song has in fact something different to offer and I could describe each one of them but I prefer to give you the occasion to discover the great universe of Rajas on your own.
I just want to point out "Threshold Of Great Transition" particularly as it really offers something completely new and outstanding. It is the first track to feature some jazz saxophones or at least samples of this or something similar. Nevertheless, the song keeps its gracious and calm folk vibes alive and doesn't develop the stereotype of a cacophonic experimental big band sound that bores me in most modern jazz music. This song here is just great and something completely new in the universe of Senmuth.
In the end, this album is excellent and only one or two points below the thin line between excellence and perfection. "Rajas" is undeniably Senmuth's best album from 2006 and underrated as so many other records from his discography that got some severe and strange ratings that go even below the sixty percent mark. Make up your own mind and give this a fair try after all.
Those who have listened to Senmuth's work enough will know that he is prone to going in many different directions with his music. Over the course of his career, he has managed to span numerous genres and mix them up, meshing the new with the ancient, and taking the listener on a musical journey to distant cultures. With 'Rajas,' Senmuth combines aspects of his ambient and metal leanings to create a metal-oriented instrumental album to mixed results.
'Rajas' is centered around the concept of Indian mysticism and spiritualism. While the album is almost entirely devoid of vocals and lyrics, the heavy presence of Indian instruments and timpani percussion makes it very clear what vista Senmuth wants the listener to imagine while listening to this piece. However, on top of the more traditional instrumentation, 'Rajas' is filled with heavier, hard-hitting guitar work. Nothing in terms of the guitar work is very virtuosic, but it helps give a bit of much needed energy to what would otherwise be a listless ambient work. Much of the music revolves around ethnic beats and guitar sludge paving a rhythm section for light 'lead' work; be it lead electric guitar, or synthesized flute or even saxophone sounds.
While 'Rajas' may work well as an ambient work, there is very little to it that grabs my attention. Senmuth is a man of much musical work, and he has released much stronger music in his career. Pleasant enough to listen to, but 'Rajas' is in total; a relatively forgettable experience.
When someone who is normally a constant listener to music from the metal genre exposes themselves to other forms of music that is drastically different and removed from metal, the first instinct that person may have is to quickly shrink away from the unfamiliar and often alien sound that assails them. However, the brave and fortunate few who are open to this unexplored realm of reverberations and clamors almost always profit from this experience. Thus, we enter Senmuth; an obscure multi-talented musician from Moscow, Russia.
Now, musically speaking, Rajas is not all that far removed from the genre of metal. What we have here is some very heavy industrial music layered with ethnic sounds and emotions, such as a flute, and a large amount of piano and synthesizers to create an ethnic mood. Rajas is almost entirely instrumental with vocals on only two out of the ten songs, irMaqua, and Saraswaty. Despite the near lack of words, this album never relinquishes your attention when it has that in its grasp. With forceful instrumentation and creative songwriting, Senmuth creates an exceptional atmosphere that is brimming full of energy and enthusiasm. It is obvious that he enjoys composing and playing music in this style.
Hip-hop influences are present in songs such as Final Rite of Dogmatic, and Hiram Bingem. This does nothing to detract from the authority of these songs; in fact, they go very well with the flute and bass, and deliver a dynamic performance upon your ears.
The only things that are negative are that the songs tend to slow down a lot halfway through Rajas. While the slower songs are still commanding of your attention, they are far less enjoyable then the first half.
Favorite Tracks: Ethnic Whole Dynamics, Bemini Roads, and Saraswaty.