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Review | “the spirit of sonic poetry” Senu – Jetlag

The Last Mixed Tape reviews Jetlag, the debut album by mulit-instrumentalist and producer Senu.

Senu brings the spirit of sonic poetry to his music. Emulating artists like Spike Lee and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jetlag draws its influence and sound from the sprawling megalopolis of New York, a city that never sleeps, via restless music filled with the need to live every moment. 

Much like Basquiat, Senu contorts his beats into abstractions of places and figures, and like Lee, casts the correct characters to populate it. Following the found-sound collage of ‘New York Subway’, Jetlag drifts into the rumbled glistening hip-hop of ‘Jetlag 4’. Featuring a clutch performance from Jamel Franklin, the song twists with the mood of a city opening itself up to both the artist and listener. In the space of just two pieces, Senu sets the scene and the shape of Jetlag. 

Further into the record, Wyvern Lingo’s Caoi De Barra brings a lush hazy voice to ‘Thought I Saw You’. Conveying the blurred pace and unease of personal memory, both the music and lyrics internalise Jetlag, contrasting from the outward tone up to this point. 

This also leads into the bifurcating ‘Flight Home’, as Jetlag returns home to Ireland with the sounds of NYC still echoing in the album’s backdrop. This also marks a shift in sonic focus, as more overt electronic flourishes are cast in songs like ‘Junior’ and the pulsating glitch of ‘Tsumi’ featuring Cidot. 

Then, Jetlag brings it all home with the finale, ‘S3’. Jamel Franklin makes his return with style, book-ending the record, while Senu creates a beat that twists, turns and switches. Closing out the album, ‘S3’ takes all the lessons we learned on the way and stirs them in a melting pot of blurred sound and space. 

And so it goes, on Jetlag, Senu paints two places at once. Melding urban concrete, bustling subways, tiring airports and the slow comedown, the artist casts figures and shapes into an album of abstract brilliance, never straying too far from view. Like most art, Jetlag makes the most sense when you look and listen a little closer. Because, within each edit, line of dialogue and stroke of paint, you might just find yourself. 


Jetlag by Senu is out on May 21st

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