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Raison D'être - Alchymeia [Cyclic Law - 2018]

Long running, Swedish ambient juggernaut raison d'être is back once again with his newest release, Alchymeia. Making his debut on Cyclic Law, Peter Andersson's latest journey bases itself in the works of Carl Jung and his work with human archetypes. Intriguing subject matter aside, this long slice of ambient goodness provides a lovely soundtrack to contemplating life over a cup of tea and a long stare out over a snowy landscape.

Alchymeia's four, long form tracks allow raison d'être ample time to ply his craft. Building an atmosphere early on in the album, "Nigredo" grabs the listener quickly with its dark, brooding, ritualistic construction, and slowly and deliberately adds mesmerizing layers to the mix, ensuring more sonic hostages for sacrifice. Continuing the "chant" filled, cavernous rite, "Albedo" uses both real and synthesized human voice to different results. While the deep, "chant" comes off as more goofy than engaging, the female voices at the end of the track are orphic, evocative, and a gorgeous way to finish off the song. Like the approach to a subterranean waterfall, "Citrinitas" feels like a slow, underground procession with a brief stop over to view a wondrous sight. The somberness of the march out is deep and effective, and carries a very nice resonance through its reverberation. "Rubedo" finishes off Alcymeia's journey with a slow build into a really wonderful crescendo at the song's peak. The interplay of airy synths and distant, sweeping noise provides a lovely backdrop for the angelic vocals that draw the listener in like a siren song. Fading out shortly after, it makes one wonder if it were real or just a vivid dream.

A legend in the genre, raison d'être shows once again why he holds such a lofty status. Having had the pleasure of seeing him in support of Brighter Death Now when they toured the US in 2014, I feel even more of a kinship with his music than I had in the past. Alchymeia is no exception, and this excellent example of thoughtful, evocative ambient is definitely recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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