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Raison D'Etre - Prospectus I [Cyclic Law / Old Europa Cafe - 2018]

Raison D'Etre is, perhaps, the most famous and significant Dark Ambient project in the world. Founded by Swedish musician Peter Andersson in 1991, to date, the project has in its discography 25 full-length albums. In 1993, on the cult Swedish label Cold Meat Industry, the first full-length album of the project was released, entitled Prospectus I- in the ensuing 25 years, the album was reissued three times on various labels. The 4th and most recent edition appeared at the tail end of 2018, as a joint release of the German label Cyclic Law and the Italian label Old Europa Cafe. It should be noted that this is not just a reissue of the original album, but a newly assembled, remixed and re-recorded material. So it can be said that this is an update of a classic Raison D’tre album.

The album was released as a Double Vinyl LP in two versions - Standard Edition on Black vinyl and Special Edition 2LP on Black & Grey splatter vinyl. Currently, only the Standard Edition is available for ordering on the Old Europa Cafe website. On the Bandcamp page of Cyclic Law, both editions are already sold out, but a digital version of the album is available.


The album cover is a fragment of the painting by Caspar David Friedrich, called Abtei im Eichwald. We see several people, perhaps monks, carrying a coffin to the entrance to the ruins of a Gothic temple. The ruins are surrounded by old lifeless trees. Under the trees, there is a snow-covered cemetery. At the top, on the background of a light sky, the title of the album - Prospectus I is written in a simple oblique font. Just below, the phrase "by Raison D'tre" is written in the same font, but smaller. It has to be said that this cover was already used for this album in 2013 when it was reissued on Old Europa Cafe as a double CD. It was an expanded edition, which was supplemented by thirteen bonus tracks. The new cover is very different from the original cover of 1993. In the original, Abtei im Eichwald was also used, but it was treated with a green filter and placed against the background of intertwining tree roots. However, a similar font was used. I think this cover fits very well with the early period of Raison D?tre music. It perfectly conveys the gothic and dark atmosphere of the album.


The album consists of thirteen tracks. The first nine tracks are, directly, the album Prospectus I. Tracks from ten to thirteen are bonus tracks that were previously published on the extended edition of 2013. The total duration of the album is just over one hour and fifteen minutes.

Undoubtedly, all fans of the Dark Ambient genre are familiar with this album, which is a classic of the genre. Nevertheless, it is necessary to dwell on the musical part of the release. This album can be attributed to the earliest stage of creation of Raison D'tre. And, as often happens with young projects, on the debut album we can hear the strong influence of other musicians. I think,  the Australian project Dead Can Dance had the greatest influence on Raison D'Etre during this period. In almost every track you can hear the echoes of their work. Along with this, the album has a large number of elements close to industrial - percussion and noise samples, radio voices and samples of field recordings. Also, this album is replete with samples of Gregorian chanting and clear synth melodies, sometimes reminiscent of the style of Dungeon Synth. Later, in his work, Peter Andersson also uses similar elements, but minimizes their number and focuses on a darker and deeper atmosphere and improvisation. In general, you’d say this is very darkly atmospheric and beautiful release, with of rhythmic industrial moments making Prospectus I related to Industrial and Ritual Ambient genres with a strong Gothic grounding. The four bonus tracks are made in approximately the same style, but they seemed more industrial-oriented to me. The exception is the last bonus track called Inquest. It is closer to the modern stage of Peter Andersson's creativity.

Since this album is the Redux version of the original album (to be honest, this is a re-release of the album version of 2013), I need to stop directly at the updated sound. It is necessary to pay tribute - to Raison D'Etre and producers as carefully as possible treated the source material. Of course, we can hear some differences in the structure of compositions, but these are minimal. The sound has become clearer and brighter. The atmosphere has become more intense, and, in some places, airier. But nevertheless, this is all the same Prospectus I. For me, the original album and this updated version are one and the same piece. I'm sure fans will love both of these options.

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

Sergey Pakhomov
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