MUSIC FOR VOYEURS - Encounter
I AM A MAN WITH A ST TROPEZ TAN - The Tattooed Aunts And Mice On Speed

Music For Voyeurs - Encounter

8 songs
26:52 minutes
/
Hangman Ho

Bandpage

I have been doing double reviews of Rick Senley two projects Music For Voyeurs and I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan in 2013 and 2014, and even though the albums never came out on the same date, I always got them together so that it felt to me that somehow there was a bond between them. Now we had to wait for a couple of years for Rick Senley to release some more music, but he is finally back with two more albums.

Let’s start with Music For Voyeurs, his ambient project, and their new album Encounter, with eight tracks and at twenty-seven minutes a short affair. The songs feel more like little vignettes, and as such, I believe that the artist was right to reduce them to their essence instead of overindulging something which would probably not have worked in the compositions’ favour. The opener A Curious Young Man offers mellow synth carpets and female spoken word parts that are later followed by a strange screeching cartoon voice. Song For Emma starts with a hypnotic drone before turning into a pastoral string arrangements, once again with these weird witch voices. Sounds like a really angry aunt from Russia! Country Living is a song played on acoustic guitar, quite soothing actually. And so it goes on, with Rick Senley offering little insights into his psyche. One track that stands out is So Evil, which samples Ronald Reagan’s Evil Empire speech from 1983. Nowadays we know that Trump is crazy, but listening to old Ronnie speaking, I can tell you he was no better.

I Am A Man With A St Tropze Tan - The Tattooed Aunts And Mice On Speed

10 songs
30:48 minutes
/
Hangman Ho

Bandpage

Whereas Music For Voyeurs should be considered ambient music, I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan is Rick Senley’s electronic project. The new album with the long title The Tattooed Aunts And Mice On Speed comes with ten tracks and is half an hour long. Its short length doesn’t really constitute a problem, as I like to listen to it right after Music For Voyeurs, with both albums together running for nearly an entire hour after all. The atmosphere here is often claustrophobic, and some tracks (Thai News, Somewhere In Bagan) come with ethnic influences, reflecting probably Rick Senley’s long career as a professional photographer. With He Even Freed The Jews, there is also here a song with strange religious mania, and the way a church choir is filtered through many effects gives this track a truly chilling flair. So yes, I Am A Man With A St Tropez Tan is electronic music, but more often than not it is not danceable. It’s in the end Rick Senley’s more abrasive project, and where Music For Voyeurs is often a very intimate, introspective experience, this here feels more like a madcap electronica travelogue.

Please forgive me for not giving a rating, because it feels at times more like an art project than music for entertainment. And that’s ok, because sometimes one is in the mood for something more cerebral, and even if Rick Senley may not be a master songwriter, he does know how to project images into your mind with his evocative music. Friends of experimental electronica will not be disappointed.