Kristian Sensini’s (Rocks in My Pocket; La Sorpresa, Karma) latest project, A Blurred Glass, is a great example of how to turn rejection into a new artistic expression. The music for this release was originally composed for a thriller project, but it was rejected—it happens to most every Hollywood composer. Confident in the work he had created, Sensini decided to craft a concept album using this material. With the Ukrainian conflict raging, he chose several musicians from the region, and proceeded to put together a release that would also help raise funds for Ukrainian refugees.
The music itself is a blend of string quartet and blends of electronics. The latter using sounds reminiscent of synths of the 1960s/70s. The writing has a mostly tonal quality that can become more strained in intense moments like those that first appear in “Bad Feeling” which also has some interesting angular writing and syncopated rhythmic ideas. For the most part though, there are some rather stunning lyrical ideas here that capture the attention from the very opening moments of “Glass Mantra” into an equally engaging thematic idea for “Blurred” (revisited sonically in “Mental Glitch”). The electronic elements tend toward adding atmospheric touches. The thematic ideas themselves have a somewhat melancholy quality which adds to their plaintive presentation here. The intimacy of the quartet then lifts this to another emotional level (as in “I Trust You”) as each track’s title provides a suggestive idea to reflect upon. “I See You” is also an interesting study in slowly-shifting harmony that uses a two-note motive whose notes add to the ambiguity. This happens further with the more impassioned violin line that is then layered into the texture. It creates a rather tense, mesmerizing effect. As the album proceeds, these different lines and motives are used in various settings that add new dramatic expression to what might have come before. The tracks often will pick up on a preceding idea and then move into the next with further development. They shift closer to brighter moments of light, but can also be drawn back down into the darkness. The result is an interesting musical journey aided by the sequencing here.
On its own, A Blurred Glass is an enthralling collection of music that blends Sensini’s lyric style with his own dramatic flair. Here the tracks work like movements in a suite with repeated motives and lyrical thematic ideas being transformed as things progress. The electronic ideas are an added color that often hovers at the edges creating atmospheric backdrops, or a rhythmic accompaniment. The album recalls some of the New Age concept albums of the Kronos Quartet, or the more intimate scores of Clint Mansell. It is also a close kin to the Sensini’s own Kuartets. To find out more about the music and to contribute to the fund set up for Ukrainian refugees, visit the composer’s website: More info on the project at https://www.kristiansensini.com/blurredglass/. The album can also be streamed on most services.