Loren Nerell creates a masterful release of deep ambient with SLOW DREAM, field recordings from the world of sleep. On his seventh solo release, Nerell’s four lengthy tracks are all-encompassing sonic environments forged mainly from extremely processed location recordings made during his trips to Bali. Rich drones and shimmering highlights skirt over the organic textures, processed and layered into subtle, delicate resonant spaces. Glowing, amorphous drifts of sound create the impression of traveling along the supple contours of subterranean passageways. This SLOW DREAM takes ethereal shape as an exotic but compelling atmosphere that hovers between the waking and sleep state. When experienced at a lower volume and left to repeat play over the course of a few hours, the transportive effect of this soundscape is especially powerful and mind-altering.
The field recordings on Slow Dream are from Bali and Java and have been mutated using various audio software plug-ins. I processed the sounds by slowing them down, turning them around, filtering them, and other various techniques beyond the point of recognition. The opening track is taken mostly from a 2003 field recording of a rare gamelan performing at a festival in a small village in Bali. This 20-minute recording was manipulated and then stretched out to around 6 hours in length. I then took the most interesting parts and layered them at various speeds to create the higher-pitched parts of the track. The rest of the sounds are from other mutated field recordings or sounds generated from my modular synth. Most of the material I use to process are from gamelan performances, but anything is fair game: insects, sounds of temple ceremonies, voices, and other instruments in my process. I started using some of these methods on The Venerable Dark Cloud but began to use them extensively on Taksu and also on Terraform. My intention was to make sounds that were from a gong’s perspective (in Indonesia, a gong in a gamelan is thought to have its own spirit.) My thinking was if a gong is a thinking spirit, it wouldn’t think in terms of a human. Instead, the gong would think in terms of gamelan sounds. So I took field recordings I had made of various gamelans and started processing them in an attempt to create something like what I imagined a gong would think. This technique has become part of my process to create new sounds.
Along with his ongoing solo releases, Nerell has 30+ years of ethno music studies and performing and recording with gamelan ensembles. Nerell has collaborated with pioneers in the electronic, ambient and new music fields including Steve Roach, A Produce, Kronos Quartet and Paul Haslinger. He continues to compose and record in Los Angeles, California.