If you appreciate old-school electronic music, Silentaria’s The Beginning of the End will likely bring you a feeling of warm familiarity, but may also wear out its welcome quickly. The disc comes off less as an homage to Rixa White’s stated influences–Jarre and Vangelis among them, not surprisingly–and more as a follow-the-textbook exercise. There are marks of either amateurism or lack of attention to polish on a few tracks, and that doesn’t help the verdict any. The title track starts out sounding like the initial tone was edited too close to its start–there’s a 1-second pause and then it drops in. I get it–it’s supposed to be like a gong. It’s not. It’s like a “whoops.” The 41-second “Beyond Destiny” has an obvious flaw at the outset–like a false start that was left in. Not to sound like I’m being harsh, it must be said that there are a couple of promising spots. They also happen to be the spots where White isn’t striving to sound like someone else. “Lament of Being” has a nice striding cadence. A good sequencer line runs along the bottom as White lays down a sort of film noir soundtrack. It’s catchy, and builds up nicely. “Farewell” is fueled by a Berlin-school feel and charges along at a good clip. The melody soars and surges. The best track here. My main problem with The Beginning of the End is twofold. First, it rarely feels like it aspires to be more than an imitation of White’s influences. Many musicians tip their hat to their musical core; the good ones then find a way to make it theirs. I don’t come away with that here. Second, it doesn’t feel ready. Outside of the gaffes noted above, it just carries–to my ears, anyway–less confidence than it needs in order to out among listeners. I couldn’t shake the feeling that White was holding back a bit. All in all, not something I’ll come back to. As always, I invite you to check the music out for yourself.
Available from the Silentaria web site.