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Anhedonia – Ontology

Anhedonia - Ontology

CD, Aliens Production, 2009

The Slovakian label, Aliens, did not fully realize the implications of what they were releasing upon an unsuspecting world when they signed Anhedonia. The first album from producer Vojtech Semana, “Destructive Forces”, was very well named: a blistering fusillade of distorted IDM percussion left eardrums withering in its wake. This latest release, “Ontology” (meaning a philosophical approach to the nature of being and relationships in general) takes another route. This time around, instead of relying on industrial-strength aggression to make his point, Anhedonia takes a more subtle, cleaner approach and, by way of this more accessible sound, manages to spread his miasmic influence a bit further. Sadly, the cleaner, softer sound he generates, while being vastly refined in terms of production quality, lacks some of the raw emotion present on his previous release.
The term “anhedonia”, however, is well illustrated on this album. For example, the track “Entire Lack of Joy” sums up quite nicely the psychological inability to experience pleasure based on the same stimuli from which others normally would. “Anhedonia”, a collaborative effort with Doctor of Mind, performs similarly. In fact, despite the more mainstream sound Anhedonia is generating on “Ontology”, there is no escaping the fact that this is one hugely depressing and entirely un-commercial album. There is no “light point” to give a listener hope – rather, Vojtech Semana batters the psyche with a consistently bleak outlook on the world. Further “duets” on the album are performed with other IDM/ambient acts like Sombra (on “Asmodium”, my personal favourite, with its garbled vocal samples) Unicode and Disharmony.
In summation: “Ontology” is a gorgeous piece of work, with massive emphasis on mood, but its presence is somewhat muted and tentative, hardly as sure of itself as “Destructive Forces” was. A pity, really, because this is one talented artist indeed, and this recording doesn’t quite fulfill expectations based on his previous offerings. It’s still very good, though, just difficult to listen to – especially if you happen to be medicated, clinically depressed, or otherwise prone to dealings with the darker side of human experience.


— David vander Merwe

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