Raison D’être – “Alchymeia” Album Review (dark ambient/drone)


We drift in a cinematic vessel into the subconscious for a vantage point that balances both immediacy and perpetual vastness.  We’ve spoken on occasion about artists who’ve experimented with such juxtapositions.  But an artist like Peter Andersson aka Raison D’être is really where that river flows from.  Today we are pleased to offer a review of Raison D’être’s Alchymeia, newly released on Cyclic Law Records. 

From Cyclic Law: “Alchymeia is diving deep down to the shadows of the unconsciousness.  Confronting the shadow within is the darkest time of despair. Suddenly, through an enantiodromia, the ever deepening descent into the unconscious transmogrifies and becomes gradually illuminated.  Alchymeia is in a sense the “raison d’être” of raison d’être, a shadowy journey through our unconscious the individuation process and archetypes.”

Alchymeia contains four lengthy tracks with the intention of “scrutinizing the paths of Carl Gustav Jung’s notions of archetypes and the individuation process.”  What Raison D’être does is create four scenes that feel partially and personally cinematic but also transcendent in the same light.  This would be appropriate considering the artist’s Jungian angle.  With Alchymeia, Raison D’être creates atmospheres that sound both organic and ethereal.  Natural sounding textures in the immediate foreground are mixed with rich, vast, sometimes dense ambient waves that give a sense of transcending the conscious and going to the subconscious.  

Two things occur in this album which Raison D’être has done previously but shine exceptionally well here and very much provide a cinematic sense.  Moreover, they are often done simultaneously herein.  Raison D’être creates a balance not only between constancy in the listener’s point of view but a sense of movement and development in the distant scenery.  We are also often witness to an ebbing and flowing of sounds that rise with the vigor of a cresting wave and drift with the delicacy of a fading liturgical chorus.

It’s no surprise that Alchymeia is a fantastic release which is obviously the product of intensive thought and reflection.  It is also no surprise that it is a release that provokes similar density in the imagination of the listener.  But what Mr. Andersson continues to do is pursue the dynamics and dimensions of sound, merging with the concepts of conscious vs. subconscious and immediacy vs. vastness.  Moreover, he again blurs the line of what is of our conscious imagination, what is our subconscious and perhaps what is purely cinematic. 

If you want to know where cinematic dark ambient started.  Look at Raison D’être. 

Alchymeia is available as a 6-panel digisleeve CD (ltd. 500) and 2xLP Vinyl (ltd. 200) in gatefold sleeve as well as a digital download.  Please note that T-shirts and bundles are available as well.


Peter Andersson (Raison d’etre)



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