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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Loren Nerell - Slow Dreams [Projekt - 2012]

“Slow Dream” is an extremely apt title for this hypnotic selection of deep ambient tracks from Long Beach, California, ambient artist and ethnomusicologist Loren Nerell. The album  literally feels like a slowly drifting dream scape cut into four lengthy parts or submersion- with each chapter or part having it’s own subtle identity, yet the album as a whole has an over laying feel of a strange exotic dream, that’s sliping by in slow motion.

This is seventh solo album from Nerell, and the four tracks here are built around a mixture of manipulated field recordings & subtle electronic drone textures. The field recordings are taken from Nerell’s many visits to Bali and Java, and they take in mainly recordings from native gamelan performance; but also he utilizes insect recordings, sounds of temple ceremonies, native voices.  These elements he skilfully slows, blurs & blends into rich, meditative & entrancing sonic trips.

The albums four tracks last between just over the eight & half minute mark, to just shy of the twenty nine minute mark. Up first we have “Mentahon”, and this is the longest of the four tracks here. The track is a built around a slow chiming harmonic tone- this sounds like a slowed & stretched  single gamelan tone, & this element slowly circles it’s way into first one stereo channel then the next. Behind this main tone are a selection of tighter/ denser sounding gong like tones which are warmed & ebbed by bright electronic textures. The track feels like a slow circular yet floating & warming Journey over an enchanting yet strange land scape, and you really do find your self drifting deeper & deeper into the track soothing harmonic folds.

Track two is the title track, and this feels a lot more brooding & subterranean. It’s built around a mixture of rumbling & almost aquatic slow bubbling tones- these are tipped with more clear tolling gong like textures from to time to time. The tracks first half gives one the feeling of slowly drifting down a vast underground alien tunnel, which is  slowly throbbing & darting with strange aquatic & weaving life forms. Around the six minute mark the tracks tolling bell/gong elements become more persistent, & also a more warming & harmonic gong tone also appears. And now the track gives one the feeling of drifting on some ghostly yet soothing vast sea scape.

Track three is entitled “A Sense of Presence”, and this seems to pull you even deeper into vague yet intriguing  sonic land scape. The tracks made up of a dense mass of:  slowly drifting clouds of stretched ‘n’ hazy gong textures, massive & slowly expanding subterranean drone textures, and blurred ‘n’ heavy  vibe like shimmers. As the track goes on  from time to  time you can make out shifts & slow darts of more defined sound- like clunking electro foot steps, distant alien child like chatter, slowed tribal tipped synth snakes & spacey darts, and textural like billows & shifts. And in the tracks last few moments sudden stabs of deep rhythmic electronics- but these never stay for long or form into any set rhythmic back bone, and the vague yet slightly intensifying atmosphere is held.

Lastly we have “Persistence of Dream Imagery”, and this is the shortest track at the 8.31 mark.  This track feels like a slow yet hazy return to physically world as more defined circular gong textures are revolved around you in a golden rotation. From time to time a chimed tone appears  from the glinting swells of gong drone, and this gives one the feeling of slowly drifting back to calm & peaceful wakefulness after your dreamy sonic trip.


“Slow Dream” is a skilfully  weaved slice of dreamy & entrancing deep ambience, and it really does pull one off to mysterious/ haunting sonic shores & gilded yet hazed audio landscapes .

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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