A catchy and fresh sonic exploration filled with wonder, groove, and riffs
Buddha Sentenza took 6 years to sharpen their art before presenting us with this worthy follow-up to Semaphora (#6 in my 2016 top), it might have been quite a while, but with this kind of result, definitely worth it!
High Tech Low Life is their third long player, and with around 15 years under the belt, the Quintet from Heidelberg, Germany definitely sounds like a seasoned band, owning their sound with amazing skill and maturity. Each album is a milestone surpassing the previous one, taking the band and the listener further every time.
How’s The Sound?
I could stop this review here, but I guess you’d be disappointed, and you know I usually can’t keep things short.
Semaphora was one of my instant favorite records in 2016, and I came back to it really often in the meantime, so my expectations for Buddha Sentenza‘s next record were pretty high. I stopped everything I was doing to listen to it when I got the promo and was instantly convinced once again. The Quintet took their time to hone their skills, and refine their sound, gave it some time to breathe, polishing every detail as they do so well, and the result speaks volumes.
Right from the start it sounds right, catches you with killer groovy riffs, and lures you in deeper and deeper with each break and shift in atmosphere or genre. These guys know how to write songs that work while putting so much in there that it satisfies both easy-listeners and prog elitists. Each song got its own vibe, venturing into its own unknown territories, displaying different sides of the expansive universe of these German fuzzers, and adding touches to a very diverse yet consistent soundscape. It wouldn’t really make sense to try to list every genre and influence in there, but think of it as heavy progressive psychedelia, ranging from space rock to metal, with virtuoso melodies, some math rock catchiness, tribal grooves here and there, underlying jazzy vibes, and a good dose of heavy thrusts. It’s too rich to describe without ever being too dense or pointlessly complex, with everything falling naturally into place.
What really amazes me is how they so easily take off with one vibe, break it off eventually, shifting the mood to something else while building up onto it, making you wonder how they just pulled that off. It just works, every damn time, whether in some more progressively buildups smoothly enriching themselves, or in the more daring (and longer) ones, jumping from genre to genre that you wouldn’t even think to associate, taking a meditative break with spaced-out synth, coming back with what could seem a completely new song, only to melt it with previous riffs somehow, and bring it to the next level. It might sound challenging laid out like that, but their virtuosity, inherent groove, and otherworldly harmony between the band members make it so natural that it just flows like melted ambrosia in your ears.
It’s really fulfilling to embark on High Tech Low Life‘s journey, and just sit comfortably front row, letting Buddha Sentenza effortlessly throw their catchy riffs, enticing melodies, killer hooks, burning groove, and multi-layered textures at you, letting yourself be surprised and amazed with every unexpected twist and turn.
Why is this album worth listening to?
- Buddha Sentenza’s instrumental proggish heavy-psych sound is delightful, catchy, and original.
- There are so many details and nuances all over this record, making every listening shine a new light on this multi-dimensional sonic trip.
- The German Quintet plays with the atmosphere, tension, and groove with such ease and mastery, taking us away with them, asking for more!
In what situation should you listen to this album?
Comfortably seated on your couch to closely listen to the myriad of sides this gem has to offer, taking the full interdimensional sonic rollercoaster. I also think any bus, train, or plane trip would turn into a space shuttle crossing galaxies with this kind of soundtrack. Your choice!
Something particular to note?
The title of the album is an homage to an old friend of the band, a homeless man who lived in their rehearsal complex for a while. They describe him as a connoisseur of the art of living, a bohemian, and a hedonist, a living example of how to live in our modern ruthless world while being satisfied with very little, creating art with everyday garbage, showing that you don’t need much to be happy.