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Capping off the year of 2010, Senmuth comes out to release another album, one that- on first glance- is different stylistically, at least as far as the album artwork is concerned. Although things have undoubtedly been quite slow for Senmuth to resume music in 2011, 'TE-E-MA' is a slightly more intelligent and textured piece of work than usual for this artist, making for a good listen to tie the Senmuth fan over until his next big release.
The music here is atmospheric, instrumental and- at times- surprisingly heavy. Essentially an amalgamation of Senmuth's diverse instrumental styles, a listener can hear electronica, folk, exotic ethnic, and metal all in one place, making this a very good place to start listening to this artist. Beginning with the fairly dark electronic/symphonic track 'Contour Of Events', the album's overture works as a strong, albeit derivative way to get the listener into the journey.
While the music here is almost entirely without vocals (the last track features some ambient singing) there are plenty of textures and different sounds at play here. Most tracks follow a general theme, and build around it. Unfortunately, very few of the ideas on 'TE-E-MA' stand out as being memorable or melodic, but the variety of sounds here can make for an engaging listen, especially for someone who hasn't heard Senmuth's music before.
'TE-E-MA' does feel like it's a regression back to the earliest Senmuth, where the order of the day was energetic industrial/electronic metal that was almost contagious in it's cheerful nature. While the album could have easily fit in back in 2005, there is certainly a more matured display and delivery here, with a great deal more variety than usual.
Unfortunately, Senmuth has still not solved many of his problems in the execution, including very fake sounding orchestral and instrumental sounds. Due to the fact that all of Senmuth's work is done on a home studio, the music's more ethnic style suffers from sounding fake and unpolished, although the electronic elements are done very well.
While 'TE-E-MA' is not a revelation for Senmuth and instead chooses to dig up an older sound, it is promising. Perhaps as a foreboding of what Senmuth will do in 2011, 'TE-E-MA' shows potential for his next piece of work. Until then, I shall wait for the Russian madman to find his inspiration and record once again.