Alcest – Le Secret

Categories: Reviews
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Published on: May 9, 2011

Most black metal is just that: black. Bruise, pitch, tar, charcoal, ink — the stick outline of a leafless tree against an unforgiving sky. Alcest are something different. It is not the music of midnight; it is dawn and twilight. It is blue, silver and violet; it is delicate and tender, nostalgic and atmospheric. And this album, Le Secret, is where this liminal sound first began to take shape. Originally released in 2005, Le Secret was the vehicle through which Alcest defined their signature sound. The differences between the original release and the re-recorded tracks are subtle. The newer versions are a hint more precise, the strings strummed a little more expertly. There are also some very gentle shifts in the tone. The differences are akin to the variations between the buzz of a hummingbird’s wings and the drone of a dragonfly: the registers are the same, but the exact pitch and strength are distinct. The original has a bit more of the tang of sunlight about it, whereas the newer recordings have more of the violet-twilight tone that characterized Alcest’s most recent release, Écailles De Lune. This album throbs in my ears the way a captured moths flutters in gently cupped hands.

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