AMN Reviews: Mount Shrine – All Roads Lead Home (2022; Cryo Chamber)

Cesar Alexandre, the person behind the Mount Shrine persona, passed away a little over a year ago due to complications from COVID. Thus, All Roads Lead Home will be his last recording, one that was completed by Simon Heath of the Cryo Chamber label. The four tracks hereon consist largely of dark, airy drones, filled with static and quiet spoken-word recordings, spread across almost 35 minutes.

The first three pieces are each dedicated to a particular type of locale, with Foliage Floor employing rapidly moving waves of sound and rumbling substructures. The tones grow cosmic in nature without being retro. Peaking Cold begins with echoing (perhaps sequenced) patterns over bristling drones and synth chords that ebb and flow. These elements form a loose melody that builds at a tectonic pace. Forest Fire contains the expected crackling and exhibits more than its share of the spoken-word parts along with layered sonorousness. The album wraps up with the title track, a hazy offering with copious amounts of sculpted white noise and smatterings of voices. The drones simultaneously oscillate at varying speeds, making this the densest piece of the bunch.

This is one of those not-so-ambient albums with a great deal of detail that warrants repeated listening at generous volumes. It is a well-composed and compelling release, and serves as a fitting swan song for Mr. Alexandre. RIP.

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