Senmuth – Vdol’ Puti K Podnebesnoy 2004 – 88%

This album holds a special place for me. Of his entire enormous discography, this is the album I heard first. At first, I was put off by the light-hearted and catchy synths. I had never heard anything like it. After I got used to the style, it’s brilliance showed itself to me. Of course, I immediately tried to make a few comparisons to other similar (?) artists, if not simply to try and put this kind of odd music in perspective. Nothing came even close. I still can’t even figure out what genre this album would be, other than simply Senmuth. The man is beyond classification.

While his later sound is much different from his earlier sound found here, it’s still unmistakably Senmuth. This album flows along in a very dreamlike nature, with synths out the wazoo. Senmuth’s sense of melody on this album is seems rather sensitive at times. Srazhenie. Vechnost’. Spravedlivost’. has probably the most sensitive melody. It’s very uplifting, and Senmuth’s powerful vocals really can inspire at times. Each song has it’s distinct melodies. Yav’ Ili Son has one of the most magical melodies I’ve ever heard (I think it’s the chorus), before switching it up with some standard hard rock guitar. Along with the magic melodies, there are many slow passages throughout the album that really reaffirm this mysterious dream like state your ears are in as you listen.

Fragment (Chinese Theater) is a very atmospheric piece, as it features little real music. It’s got some small waterfall type of effect over it, with a very low chorus bellowing (pretty sure it’s a synth again, but it sounds quite real). It has a sample of some Chinese guy, who I’m assuming is an actor. After a while, it breaks into some “heavy” drums, then it switches between the different parts. Ho Chang Kung continues with more of these “heavy” drums. They’re basically extremely loud deep drum sounds with a heavy industrial effect over them. That, coupled with the comforting melodies, make for an extremely interesting song. Then out of nowhere, here comes Senmuth to deliver some chunky guitar riffage that follows the melody. The storm calms down once again. Then boom! Shift this baby into fucking overdrive! The riffage towards the end of this section is basically thrash!

Simply dreamy. I cannot stress that enough. This album is like a world full of candy in vibrant colors in my head as I sleep. Yet that only covers about 60% of the album.  The dark and heavier passages tend to bring the album down to Earth, while still keeping the atmosphere relatively intact. Tai- Chu closes the album with some familiar melodies from Yav’ Ili Son, and a few others from throughout the album. There are some new ones as well, which manage to be just as memorable and great as the rest.

For a Senmuth fan, this album shouldn’t disappoint. It’s got all of his off the wall elements, along with some probably not found on any other Senmuth album. This album is truly unique, and anyone who hears it is going to have their mood improved. Unless happy music pisses you off or something.

As I trip and stumble through my dreams…


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