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Here’s a special album - 80%

MaDTransilvanian, June 10th, 2010

Damn Senmuth and his insane music production rate... I can’t even claim that the oddly titled Pat Hof Neu Rog Ene Sis is his newest album anymore. Oh well, be that as it may, his productivity is perhaps the primary reason for his notoriety, along with his actual capacity of creating good music at a very good ratio with his number of released albums. That said, Pat Hof Neu Rog Ene Sis isn’t the most impressive of the Senmuth albums I own: it’s very good, but not a masterpiece like Chambers or the metal masterpiece, Sebek.

Pat Hof Neu Rog Ene Sis is another one of Senmuth’s instrumental ambient/ethno albums. However, this one sheds the previous few albums of that type’s slick, epic neoclassical sound for a more relaxed and almost melancholic approach to the music. This album’s greatest quality, by a long shot, is the very competent mixing of the guitar sound with the keyboard sound. The guitars are very clean, providing no riffs in the metal sense of the word. Instead, they do these kinds of brief “brushes”, only for the duration of one or two notes, creating an effect very similar to the ambient music that can be found elsewhere in life, such as in certain role-playing video games (I’m reminded of the original 1995 Diablo here, oddly enough). The playing is also very slow for the entire duration, having seemingly no other objective than the creation of pure, slow music. The acoustic sound is very successful in this role, sounding exactly as it should to create the atmosphere of loneliness and melancholy that’s the main objective of Pat Hof Neu Rog Ene Sis. Another musical piece that these melodies reminded me of, oddly enough, is the most recent Opeth album, Watershed, but solely the acoustic portions, which are similar.

The other contributing element to the overall sound is the keyboard. Senmuth uses it discreetly, as if it’s only there to add to the primary acoustic guitar sound than to stand out on its own. The synths are not only discreet when they appear, but they do so only relatively rarely. The only noticeable portions are those when there’s a passage here or there which is audibly synthetic in nature. Otherwise, it’s as if this were an intricate guitar instrumental album. Well, a few strategically positioned soft percussion sounds can be found in a few places, but they’re quite rare as well, only to be found around the first half of the album. There’s also a small industrial influence on the album, primarily noticeable in the unconventional sounds found on the P.H.N.R.E.S.: Neuroanomaly track.

The atmosphere on Pat Hof Neu Rog Ene Sis is one of the most difficult to decipher. The album combines feelings of nature with some more human-oriented ones, almost post-modern in their effect. I guess that the only truly noticeable theme on the album, due to the cover and one of the titles, is that of volcanoes, going back to the nature aspect mentioned above. One of the songs is named after the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, which has had an important effect on air transportation in Europe this year.

Senmuth’s Pat Hof Neu Rog Ene Sis is a pretty good album. It’s actually quite experimental in nature, with all the seemingly disparate elements coming together, and in the end it takes a while to actually get used to. It’s definitely worth hearing for Senmuth and ambient fans, especially those who don’t fear the experimentation of several different musical genres and unconventional ideas. It’s just not Senmuth’s best.