LOREN NERELL: The Gong Prophet (2021)
Updated: Apr 20
“A very eclectic album that covers everything I like, well almost, in EM”
1 Return to Temple of the Frog 12:45
2 The Gong Prophet 12:25
3 Reyong 6:27
4 Last Gamelan 13:25
5 Dreams of Sarons 7:07
6 Hare Drum 11:11
(CD/DDL 63:24) (V.F.)
The last album I heard from Loren Nerell was in 2016 with the reissue of The Venerable Dark Cloud on Projekt Records. That's almost 5 years ago! It was a beautiful album of ambient ethnic music with an arsenal of tribal percussions that had more than won me over. I was very happy to learn that he was back on the map with a brand-new solo album where his musician friends were quick to accompany him on the 6 tracks of his new album THE GONG PROPHET. A very eclectic album that covers everything I like, well almost, in EM.
After a slow opening animated by the reverberations and resonances of gongs, Tibetan percussions and gamelan instruments, Return to Temple of the Frog offers a bewitching texture of rhythm. It is nothing less than a weary blues with gurgling lines surrounding it in addition to the seductive percussion that tinkles and resonates in all directions, captivating both the listener and the attention with the addition of percussive and organic elements. Loren along with Steve Roach are playing frog percussions, adding so an Impressionist touch to the music's spirit. The gamelan instruments are as important as a sequencer here as they weave a rhythmic bed and its rolling balls in constant motion beneath this structure where Markus Reuter goes for some solos of his touch guitar. This is an excellent track with a nice mesh of acoustic and electronic in a stunning tribal ambience. The title-track is conceived to make radiate the breaths of Mark Seelig's Bansuri flute. Winds and seraphic voices are paired with the different textures of the flutes on this track where sometimes I feel like I hear wolves howling. A quiet track which seems to me ideal for meditation, as well as the very relaxing Last Gamelan. It's quite interesting to hear what you can do with a gamelan instrument. Especially with Erik Wollo's guitar.
The Reyong is a musical instrument used in the Balinese gamelan. It consists of a long row of metal gongs suspended from a frame. Playing it produces an almost frenetic atmosphere with a nervous flow that fills the surrounding space with its sharp blows and resonances. Joining the guitar of Erik Wollo and his prismatic waves is a brilliant idea with equivalent results. A small favorite here! Arrangements guiding slow staccatos between tinkling bells initiate the hyper slow and hypnotic rhythm of Dreams of Sarons. A concert of chimes is the highlight of this track that enjoys the support of Forrest Fang in the electronic textures. THE GONG PROPHET passionately ends in a rhythmic ride that takes me back to the album The Leaving Time that Steve Roach did with Santana's drummer Michael Shrieve. The rhythm loops that are constantly rolling in ascending mode in Hare Drum are also very Berlin School. Another excellent and unexpected track.
A very nice album with great tracks in a music that captivates, as much in meditation style as animated by lascivious rhythms...and even more with Hare Drum, THE GONG PROPHET is probably the most accessible album to discover Loren Nerell's universe.
Sylvain Lupari (April 18th, 2021) ***¾**
Available at Soundquest Bandcamp