raison d’etre – Collected Works CD Infinite Fog Productions 2013
The long standing and highly revered raison d’être can be classified as one of the pinnacle acts and pillars of the second wave of the dark ambient scene, noting the first wave was pioneered by the dark ambient genre founder – Lustmord. But whereas Lustmord over the years has plumbed the dark depths and uninhabited cavernous recesses of the earth; then later turning focus on deep space themes; raison d’être has instead maintained a constant focus on an inward looking spiritual approach, evoked through sacral ambient soundscapes. By now raison d’être have carved their own dark ambient niche which can cut to the core of the inner psyche. Essentially the feeling of religious laments bleeds through all aspects of Peter’s music and one which draws on the spiritual capacity of the human condition. This for me is where Peter excels with his musical works.
So what we have here should be self-evident from the title – a collection of tracks, drawn together under the banner of a compilation album. However given the consistent thematic threads that runs through Peter’s works, this album does not feel like a compilation of disparate compositions. This is assisted by the fact that the majority of the compositions come from the later era/ current sound of the project, where the majority of tracks date from between 2001 to 2010 (with 1 track from as far back as 1999). As such the album’s style is based on long form soundscapes compositions of subterranean drones, sampled and slightly treated sacral chanted vocals, distant ritual chimes, scraping metallic textures, sparse piano (on selected tracks) and the ever present quasi-orchestral synth pads.
If you are already well acquainted with a large proportion of Peter’s work there are no surprises to be found here, but this for me is simply not an issue give the pinnacle level in which he operates. Artwork also comes courtesy of Martin Bladh, who has painted a series of ‘death mask’ pictures of Peter Anderson at various stages of his life (thus far) and presented across the 4 panel digi-pack. Recommended – as is pretty much the case with all of raison d’être’s output.