ALCEST // SPIRITUAL INSTINCT - CD
RELEASE DATE: 2019-10-25
For principal songwriter and frontman Neige, ALCEST has always been a gateway to the otherworldly, a means of exploring his spirituality. An elemental two-piece, completed by long-serving drummer and creative confidante Winterhalter, their forthcoming sixth album »Spiritual Instinct« finds Neige at his most personal. “This time I had something urgent to put on the table,” he explains. “It is a very cathartic record - something needed to get out of me. It’s darker than usual, and heavier.”
Written in bursts both during and after a prolonged period of touring in support of 2016’s hugely successful »Kodama«, the sense of urgency Neige speaks of manifests in a record full of spontaneity, of immediate impact – be that in the breath-taking pace of 'Les Jardin De Minuit'’s tempo changes, or 'Sapphire'’s sun-kissed harmonies over an impermeable back beat, one thing »Spiritual Instinct« has is riffs, an acknowledgement and celebration of the black metal foundations that anchor their uplifting post-metal.
“Some real metal riffs!” agrees Neige. “I come from the metal scene originally and it never really left me; I used black metal as a teen as a way to escape from reality and that’s what I love the most about it. It’s the best type of music to express overwhelmingly darker feelings. I usually don’t speak about my darkness in ALCEST’s music but this time it felt like something I had to do.”
The tension at the record’s vital core comes from Neige facing the darker aspects of his personality and fighting to reconnect with his spiritual essence, to conquer adversity and grow. These issues are key to understanding the record’s title. “I have lived a spiritual life for most of my existence,” Neige explains. “I say spirituality as opposed to religion- for me they’re two very different things. We don’t need churches, we don’t need bibles. Go to nature – that’s the most beautiful temple you can find. Life can be harsh, but it’s important to stay connected with your essence. If answers exists you might be more likely to find them within you. In »Spiritual Instinct« there are questions about the meaning of life and the possible existence of something else; something divine. The struggle to be the best person for yourself and the people around you, to evolve as a soul. You have to face your demons if you want to be a better person.”
It is a battle articulated in the record’s cover art – an image of the mythological Sphinx, with its human head and animalistic body representing man’s inner duality. “I recognise myself in this creature,” Neige explains. “It feels alien and strange; a mix of the primal and spiritual.”
This inner conflict and desire for self-betterment fuels the record’s penultimate track 'Le Miroir', by turns gnashing and baleful, but as ever with ALCEST, beautifully gilded and fueled by grace. »Spiritual Instinct« may well articulate Neige’s battle with existential anxiety, but he is keen to impress that at the core of his music is empowerment, of finding a path through darkness and towards the light. “I want the music to be beautiful; grand,” he agrees- “there is transformation in the process.”
- Les Jardins De Minute
- L'Île Des Morts
- Le Miroir
- Spiritual Instinct
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