Album Review: Lena Raine – One Knowing

By Kiah Easton, Staff Writer
[Self-released; 2019]
Rating: 7/10

Key tracks: “Tsukuyomi”,”Insomnia”, “Trance State”

After widespread critical acclaim from her release Celeste OST, Lena Raine has used her momentum to release a debut album, One Knowing, that stands alone as a sonic experience, unaccompanied by partnered media. While the OST for Celeste is a perfectly tailored sonic journey that follows the simple but impactful side scroller, One Knowing leaves the strict narrative driven by a partner video game and opens up the experience for the listener’s discretion. Atmosphere building at its best, One Knowing lulls the listener into a near-meditative state where inner thoughts are processed with ease and the narrative is built around the listeners’ daydreams.

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Popping out of the previous ambiance, as if coming out of a dark cave into a massive overlooking expanse, “Tsukuyomi” introduces a Vocaloid singer who structures and gives purpose to the fog beforehand. Without a language any human can interpret, the voice adds to the story purely through its humanness. Light, textured drums slither and hop around string plucks and ethereal ambiance, creating an intense sense of progression. With emotional depth and movement, “Tsukuyomi” is the first day of the adventure, the gust of wind that pushes the sails of our sonic journey.

“Insomnia” feels soft like sleep but not in a familiar comforting way. It’s much darker, like sleep that you want but never get and therefore becomes only an idea that represents comfort. The drums are warped and drawn out as if they are tired feet dragging along the cold wood floor of your dark suburban home on an aimless trip to the sink for water. The absence of the Vocaloid character mimics the quiet sense of loneliness brought on by countless hours alone staring at the ceiling.

Slithery and oozing, the lush pads of “Trance State” creep into ears. The unknown Vocaloid mimics the pads in quality, each element drenched in reverb blurring the borders till abstraction is reached. Swelling up and crashing back to soft ambiance, “Trance State” has the feeling of constant potential energy shifted but never used. Even the drums hint the idea of a breakbeat pop off, but instead, they stay far apart, only just penetrating the sonic ooze.

Lena Raine’s One Knowing represents a blank canvas for its listener to imprint upon. The tracks, like a nutrient bed of silt, allow for mental sprouts that bloom into flowers. Her shift from supporting video games with her composition to creating music for its pure, unadulterated appreciation marks a defining point in her career. Although recognizably skilled in the art of fitting a musical experience to a pre-existing, accompanying experience, releasing a piece of work that stands alone opens Raine’s work up for unaltered appreciation and allows her to take more control over the experience she delivers. Regardless of where she takes her talents in the future, this is a statement in her artistry and her ability to create music unlike anything in her past.

Listen here:

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