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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

LOREN NERELL: Tree of Life (2014)

Updated: Jan 1, 2020

The music of Tree of Life is like a seed of life which inexorably makes its path up to the cradle of our needs of contemplativity

1 Wacah Chan 19:56 2 Cintamani 8:09 3 Yggdrasil 12:43 4 Kayon 14:10 5 Acacia 8:05 6 Arbor Vitae 10:52 Projekt | PRO 00299

(CD/DDL/Spotify 73:59) (V.F.) (Ambient tribal EM)

There are some who like that, other don't. There are some who float and meditate profoundly, others remain totally indifferent. The ambient music. Music of ambiences. Those who are familiar with the rather introspective universe of Loren Nerell know how much the synthesist and the musician disciple of the Balinese Gamelans (Indonesian traditional musical instruments) likes to plunge into the esoteric zones of a music immersive as abstract as very spiritual. The adventure can turn out to be difficult for somebody who seeks more for rhythms than for latent hypnotic structures. Because beyond the ambient music, TREE OF LIFE remains a solid monument of soft hypnotic trance on a musical pattern strongly filled by a meditative music at times rather dark but always very near a kind of postcard poetry. For his last album, and to better paint his soundscapes of a charming color, the American musician asked Mark Seelig to play his famous Jawbone style flute which inevitably is going to make lift up the hair of your backbone. Music of ambiences? Of course it is and it's not that bad, far from it. Just needs to give our self the time to be carried away by some very suave ethereal moments of TREE OF LIFE.

Wacah Chan begins this 10th opus from the American musician with long incantatory shamanic breaths which float on a discreet organic sound fauna. Lines of synth draw grey clouds, uniting a musical peace of mind with timbres of voices from which the hoarse breaths seem to give birth to whispers of wizards hidden in the shadow. And the native from California unveils little by little his sonic arsenal with bells which ring in a disordered way, sounding the awakening of flutes and percussions. On a deep structure of ambiences; flutes, percussions and bells sow a wind of discord which alters not at all the placidity of the spiritual singings. Wacah Chan continues to look deep into the passive dark territories, forging so a black ambient music which quietly unties our soul from our body. The experience remains rather fascinating. It's like to listen some Dead Can Dance in its most abstract forms without the singings of Lisa Gerrard. Singings which are replaced here by the very beautiful flute of Mark Seelig from which the intonations are the charm of this very long prelude that is Wacah Chan. Slowly, and I have to say a little long by moments, we go adrift towards the splendid Cintamani and its soft rhythm which structures an attractive morphic dance. The percussions are of a surprising seduction and the flute of Seelig floats as by magic on strikes which forge a slow hypnotic rhythm. I hooked straight from the first listening. Yggdrasil escapes with the violent winds that were roaring on the rhythmic structure of Cintamani and of its mesmerizing clanic percussions.

We are literally in the heart of the rhythmic storm which seduces from minute till minute. The winds roar with a mixture of frightened voices and the percussions thunder a rhythm of war against the elements of nature. The effect is striking and the moods are magic. One would say a big psychedelic ambient rock which is hiding its violence in a passive, suggestive rhythm. And these winds … They sing as much than they roar. These two tracks are of an incredible auditive efficiency. Kayon! It's the calm after the storm. It's an immersion in the Tibetan plains with young girls' choruses who adore a strange concert of carillons. These bells, of which the multicolored ringings criss-cross their harmonies, are shaping subtly an upward rhythm, a little as a procession with blazing colors which climb some celestial mounts in a mesmerizing symphony of carillons. I liked it and if we listen carefully we hear quite well a melody forged a subliminal air that still haunts the ears many hours later. On a structure a little more contemplative, one would imagine to be on the top of a mountain observing a sunset while thinking of 1001 souvenirs, Acacia floats and cries of its Chinese violin tears which are as much intense as melancholic. A track quite poignant at times that leads us to the sweeter tears of Mark Seelig's flutes which sing over the micro-organic fauna of Arbor Vitae. Like each time that Sam Rosenthal sends me albums of his ambient / meditative / tribal collection, I look at those with a slight feeling of resentment in the ears. And as each times, I eventually fall for it. I eventually get even subjugated. Like with this last album from Loren Nerell. In a superb digipack artwork and a very worked musical production, the music is like a seed of life which inexorably makes its path up to the cradle of our needs of contemplativity.

Am I a victim of the syndrome: “the more we listen to, the more we become used and the more we eventually liked? I don't think so, because I fell rather fast with the portion of Cintamani, Yggdrasil and Kayon. The rest gets grafted quite slowly. A little as when we are bewildered by the magical beauties of the immense landscapes filled with oriental mysticism.

Sylvain Lupari (May 23rd, 2014) *****

Available at Project Music Bandcamp

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