“Lucile” is Alchimia’s first album.
Alchimia came about very spontaneously and its main source is in the love for playing music. Well before it was formed, Dawud Mateen and his son-in-law Robert Iwanik talked about jamming together, which finally happened when Jumpa Hunga, a band that Dawud and Brad Smarjesse were in, disbanded. Robert has known Brad since 2004, when the two met while Robert’s previous band Rope came through Seattle on tour.
It started with improvisation and still remains. At first, it was to work out a style, but quickly became obvious that improvising was the only form that provided the most creative freedom and joy of playing. Settling in the cozy basement of Robert’s house at the time, Alchimia sessions started morphing into rituals of sorts; in the incense mist, dimmed light, going into a state, hard to quickly come out of when the clock hit the time to stop. Each session was recorded then scrupulously listened to, to pick up and focus on the best moments. Live or on tape, Alchimia is a form of meditation and escape from reality. It’s also seen as reflection of surroundings where it came to life, as Seattle is known for its breath-taking scenery often covered in mist. That’s how a dialog using sounds was formed, which Alchimia took to the studio. “Lucile” is an entirely improvised set of vignettes and rich sound palette pieces. The idea of vignettes came about shortly before the recording session. Their purpose was to let one instrument lead, with others creating a background, which can be heard in the opening and closing tracks, as well as a piece titled “Malik”, that Robert dedicated to his son with the same name.
“Lucile” is a document of one day, one of those rituals, captured under the careful ear of Don Farwell at his studio, Earwig, in Seattle, WA, who also makes a guest appearance on bells on “622 Falls”. The album was then mastered by Griffin Rodriguez (HiM, The Exciting Trio, Icy Demons) at Shape Shoppe studio in Los Angeles, CA. Robert worked with Griffin in the past on the second studio album by Rope.