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Album Review: High Tech Low Life by Buddha Sentenza

We cover a lot of sub-genres of psychedelic music here at The Third Eye, from your standard definition of the genre to every imaginable variation of it, we always have you covered when it comes to psychedelic jams. With that in mind, we are pleased to bring you to Germany today as we discuss the new album from Buddha Sentenza. The record is titled High Tech Low Life and was released on January 27th.

About High Tech Low Life

Per their Bandcamp description, Buddha Sentenza says that …

“High Tech, Low Life” is the third sonic exploration by the German instrumental band Buddha Sentenza. Following the path laid out by their widely acclaimed 2016 release “Semaphora,” the quintet from Heidelberg continue to weave together musical landscapes from seemingly divergent “realities.” The result is a composition that lives in the cracks between conflicting spaces, an entity that is constantly teasing us with its playful openness but also releasing us to moments of focused clarity and awe. Once again, the band invites us to listen deeply; to let the myriad melodies and textures sink in as we flow along the 45-minute coastline of the album’s 5 intricately crafted songs. And, as with a great movie, it is a record that will ask you to return to it, time and time again.”

While 5 tracks may seem like an EP to most people, this album runs for the length of most full albums, coming in at about 47 minutes. Buddha Sentenza takes you on a journey with each track that includes heavy psych, progressive leanings, stoner riffs, and incredible songwriting.

The record opens with “Oars,” starting with a few German words and then diving into a catchy first riff. This guitar part displays progressive tendencies, with its movement requiring some finger dexterity, and the sounds underneath bring in a bit of psych flavor.

The first three minutes of this one remind me of the prog masters in Yes, then we are dropped into an interlude that is pure beauty. You’d expect to hear this piece during a symphony orchestra’s performance, the mellow calm before the full orchestra storm comes in and ups the ante with power and brilliance.

The guitar re-enters after approximately 2 minutes, giving you the feeling that things are about to go off. That doesn’t really happen for a bit, as the band moves together to raise the intensity slowly, bit by bit, until the power returns about a minute before the song reaches its finale. This song is 8 minutes and 57 seconds of excellence.

Up next is “Anabranch,” and it comes in as the third longest track on High Tech Low Life, almost hitting the ten-minute mark.

As we get into this one, there is an obviously heavier feel than “Oars” while still showing off the progressive skill these musicians are capable of. I dig the heavier riff quite a bit, but there is so much more to this song than that. I hear a touch of a Dream Theater influence in certain parts of this one, and Buddha Sentenza can shift from that into another beautiful interlude. This is shorter than the one in “Oars,” fits into the track wonderfully, and reappears in more or less the same form later in the song. This approach’s dynamic peaks and valleys are fantastic, pulling the listener into the world that the song creates.

This brings us to song number three, “Ricochet,” the shortest of the five.

“Ricochet” is high intensity for the most part, utilizing the fastest drumming to be heard on this album. Then things seem to dial back for a post-metal type of section, drawing in some psychedelic vibes. I love that Buddha Sentenza does these types of interludes; they can add a sense of beauty while showing us their skill as artists. This mellow section only increases slightly and helps to end the track on a high note.

Final Thoughts

It’s not easy to create epic songs of this length, but Buddha Sentenza makes it seem easy, creating a diverse-sounding album full of riffs, an array of different instruments, and an overall vibe of 70s music mixed with more modern stylings. I strongly urge fans to go and give this album repeated listens, as you will hear things that you may have missed the first time around; not to mention that the music is highly enjoyable and repeat listens will happen due to just that. You can find the album on Bandcamp, so head over there now and immerse yourself in the glory of Buddha Sentenza!! Enjoy!!

Support Buddha Sentenza by checking out their Bandcamp, or finding them on social media (InstagramFacebook).

This review was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.

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