Les Voyages de l'Âme

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Les Voyages de l'Âme
Alcest Les Voyages de l'Âme.jpeg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 6, 2012 (2012-01-06)
StudioKlangschmiede Studio E, Mellrichstadt
GenreBlackgaze, post-rock
Length50:23
LabelProphecy Productions
ProducerMartin Koller
Alcest chronology
Le Secret (EP, reissue)
(2011)
Les Voyages de l'Âme
(2012)
Shelter
(2014)
Singles from Les Voyages de L'Âme
  1. "Autre Temps"
    Released: December 2, 2011[1]

Les Voyages de l'Âme (English: "The Journeys of the Soul") is the third studio album by Alcest, released on January 6, 2012 by Prophecy Productions. "Autre Temps" was also released in a different version as a single, and was made into a music video.[2][3] The album has been described as a musical synthesis of the previous two albums, blending shoegaze, post-rock, and black metal influences.[4]

Musical style and writing[edit]

The New York Times described the album's sound as "a kind of slow, pretty, gauzy metal, with highly managed guitar distortion, cathedral reverb and high, clear voices, except for when Neige sings in a barbed scream."[5] AllMusic's Thom Jurek described the album as combining "black metal's buzz, gorgeous shoegaze melodies, ambient soundscapes, and post rock feedback", and as a synthesis of the styles of the previous two albums. He also notes that the aggressive elements are employed in a "celebratory manner", and that with the use of harsh, screamed vocals, "the melodic beauty of the guitars seems to open up that expression, ensuring balance."[4] Neige consciously rejected comparisons to black metal, arguing that "It is not correct to label me as black metal because I did a few screams. There is nothing in my music about hate or angriness."[6] In a number of interviews he has described it as the most progressive and ethereal Alcest album to date.[7][8] He has also stated that on this album he was inspired by Yann Tiersen, Dead Can Dance, Summoning, and Burzum.[9]

Neige has described the album as a continuation of his effort to describe his experiences of "another world" in visions as a child, and as "an attempt to explore this very strange esoteric experience." Les Voyages is inspired by these even more than any previous album, with Neige saying that "The goal of this album was to push the concept of the band to the maximum. All the lyrics are very clear this time because before I was speaking about this but taking other directions to avoid that stuff. But the lyrics of the new album are really speaking about this and nothing else."[9]

Though the songwriting process for this album was quicker than on previous albums, it was also the most challenging for Neige. He explained that "I really wanted to make something good. I want to push further the limits of this music, and for me, this is the end of an era. This album is the summary of what I've done before. The concept has been pushed to a different level than before, and that's why it sounds so other-worldly and dreamy, I think. It's complex and very progressive in a way. I think it's very melodic, and I spent a lot of time in the melodies to find good riffs." He noted the title track as the most difficult song to compose, particularly structurally, adding that "I did six or seven versions of this song to find the right structure. I didn't spent a lot of time on the melodies for this one, but just on the structure, to find a way to gather all the riffs."[7]

Touring and promotion[edit]

Les voyages de l'âme (music video)

Alcest began streaming the album in full online on January 4, 2012, two days in advance of the album's official release date.[10] The band toured across Europe for much of early 2012 in support of the album, and in September 2012 they played in Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo in Japan for the first time.[11][12]

A music video directed by Julien Marie for the song 'Autre Temps' was released on December 1, 2011. Neige was very involved in the direction of the video, saying that "I gave him the directions. Where to go; what to speak about; what kind of images I wanted to have; casting. Pretty much everything had a direction. It’s not me who filmed the video; it’s him." He discussed the concept behind the video, explaining that it's about "the contrast between the fact that nature is moving, changing but still is here and will always be here. And the humans are just going here and disappearing very, very quickly. So it’s very contrasted. But you can see many things. [...] And the ocean is the symbol of immortality in a way because life is the symbol of — water is the symbol of life."[13] Following the release of the album, the band released a second video for the albums' title track on May 21, 2012. The video was directed, edited and written by Toshadeva Palani.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic82/100[15]
Review scores
SourceRating
About.com4.5/5 stars[16]
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
The New York TimesPositive[5]
Pitchfork Media(6.9/10)[17]
PopMatters(9/10)[18]
Sputnikmusic3.5/5 stars[19]
Ultimate Guitar(7.7/10)[20]

Upon its initial release, Les Voyages de l'Âme was met with very positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic (a review aggregator site which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 from music critics), based on 10 critics, the album has received a score of 82, which indicates "universal acclaim".

Exclaim! critic Natalie Zina Walschots wrote a positive review of the album, concluding that "The music contains all of the trembling beauty fans have come to expect from Alcest, combined with a sense of vitality and wanderlust. Les Voyages De L'Âme explores rather than pleads." They noted that where the previous album was very melancholic, Les Voyages... is characterised "by a strong forward movement and breathless, buoying optimism".[21] Thom Jurek wrote a positive review of the album for AllMusic, writing that the album "is a conscious synthesis of the music from their two previous albums, rather than a move forward. And that's fine: assessment and integration and perfecting previous ideas are important aspects of any serious attempt at making art and creating a forward motion trajectory." He praised the improved production quality, and that "its ability to create emotions that approach bliss in now part of its sonic architecture".[4] Pitchfork contributor Brandon Stosuy wrote a more lukewarm review, writing that "There's no denying the beauty, but it feels weirdly muted-- or perhaps just unsurprising." Stosuy nonetheless praised the album as "the most accomplished Alcest offering yet", noting the transition between "Beings of Light" and "Faiseurs de Mondes" as the standout moment.[17] PopMatters writer Brice Ezell commended the band for continuing to elude efforts to be pigeonholed to a particular genre, stating "It’s clear from the group’s output thus far that Alcest isn’t trying to be a black metal band and, yet, for some reason, that genre is a consistent talking point in terms of the band’s overall output. If that’s the case, then Alcest could perhaps be called “post-black metal”. But given that the critical scene is already dense with superfluous and unnecessary genre names, I’ll go ahead and forego the need to label the band in that fashion. Needless to say, the sound of Alcest is one that represents a wholly unique mixture of metal and shoegaze, and Les Voyages De L’Âme is a masterful demonstration of that sonic equation."[18]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Neige except "Nous Sommes l'Émeraude" by Charles van Lerberghe; all music composed by Neige.

No.TitleLength
1."Autre Temps" ("Another Time")5:50
2."Là Où Naissent les Couleurs Nouvelles" ("Where New Colours Are Born")8:50
3."Les Voyages de l'Âme" ("The Journeys of the Soul")6:56
4."Nous Sommes l'Émeraude" ("We Are the Emerald")4:20
5."Beings of Light"6:11
6."Faiseurs de Mondes" ("Makers of Worlds")7:57
7."Havens"2:10
8."Summer's Glory"8:04
Total length:50:23

Personnel[edit]

Adapted from AllMusiccredits.[22]

Alcest
Additional personnel
  • Martin "MK" Koller - production
  • Neb Xort - mixing, mastering
  • Markus Stock - engineer
  • Fursy Teyssier – cover art
  • Valnoir - design

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Autre temps - Single by Alcest on Apple Music". Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  2. ^ Les Voyages de l'Âme on Prophecy Productions
  3. ^ Autre Temps (single) on Prophecy Productions
  4. ^ a b c d Jurek, Thom. "Les Voyages de l'ame – Alcest : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  5. ^ a b Ratliff, Ben (January 13, 2012). "New York Times Alcest Les Voyages de l'Âme review". Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  6. ^ Natalie Zina, Walschots (February 3, 2012). "Alcest". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  7. ^ a b "Interview: Alcest Mainman Neige Talks About the Songwriting Process". 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  8. ^ "ALCEST'S NEIGE: THE METALSUCKS INTERIVEW". MetalSucks. 2012-01-19. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  9. ^ a b "Interview with Alcest | Rock Edition". www.rockedition.com. March 12, 2012. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  10. ^ "NO CLEAN SINGING » STREAM THE NEW ALCEST ALBUM". Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  11. ^ bravewords.com. "ALCEST Announce Tour Dates For Japan". Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  12. ^ "Alcest streaming Les Voyages De L'Âme in full, playing Public Assembly (with DJ BBG)". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  13. ^ "Interview with Alcest | Rock Edition". www.rockedition.com. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  14. ^ "Alcest Posts New Music Video For "Les Voyages De l'Âme"". www.metalunderground.com. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
  15. ^ "Les Voyages de l'ame Reviews – Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  16. ^ Zed, Natalie. "About.com Les Voyages de l'Âme review". Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Alcest: Les Voyages de l'Âme : Album Reviews : Pitchfork". Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  18. ^ a b Alcest: Les Voyages de l'ame : PopMatters
  19. ^ Review: Alcest – Les Voyages de l'ame : Sputnikmusic
  20. ^ Les Voyages de l'ame Review : Alcest : Compact Discs : Reviews @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com
  21. ^ Natalie Zina, Walschots (January 30, 2012). "Alcest Les Voyages De L'Âme". Exclaim!. Retrieved 2016-09-03.
  22. ^ "Les Voyages de l'Âme - Alcest | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-03.

External links[edit]