The Venerable Dark Cloud

by Loren Nerell

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about

An ambient hybrid of traditional Indonesian soundscapes and electronics. Originally released in 2000 on Italy’s Amplexus label, Loren Nerell extends The Venerable Dark Cloud‘s original 22 minutes to over 69 minutes, culminating in a complete vision capturing a sound that Sequences described as “modern ambient drone music (that) melds with ancient tribal cultures to form something entirely new, sounding ages old.”

In 2000, Glen Hammett wrote for The Raging Consciousness Desk, The Venerable Dark Cloud “is spectacular, creative, and a delight to listen. Enchanting! The sensation the listener comes away with is one of a sacred mysterious quality, and I found myself wanting more when it ended.“

Sixteen years later, the wait is over. Capturing an ambient sound informed by Indonesian gamelan music, and the concept of animism, Loren remarks, “What would it be like to be a soul or spirit inside a gong? You would not think in human ways but maybe in gamelan tones. This album is how I imagine it would be to be that gong.”

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From the liner notes, Loren writes:

This project started back in 1998 when Stefano Gentile asked me to contribute to his Amplexus mini-CD ambient label. The timing was perfect: I had just finished my masters degree in ethnomusicology, it had been a while since I had any time to create music, and I was very eager to get back to creating again.

The first thing that came was the title; well, actually I stole the title. The Venerable Dark Cloud is the English translation of the name given to the UCLA Javanese gamelan ensemble “Kyai Mendung.” I felt this title fit the mood of the music I was writing, plus I also had this concept for what the album was about. Indonesia is predominately Islamic, but underneath there are many layers of other beliefs including Animism, the belief that everything has a soul. This has filtered down into everything including gamelan ensembles; it is thought that the spirit of the ensemble resides in its largest gong. As an outsider, I was fascinated. I wondered, “What would it be like to be a soul or spirit inside a gong?” You would not think in human ways but maybe in gamelan tones. This album is how I imagine it would be to be that gong. “Within The Cloud” is how a gong would think created using only gamelan tones that I processed.

One unique aspect of the Amplexus concept that I found challenging was the short capacity of the little 3-inch CDs they released on; they held about 23 minutes rather than the 74 minutes on a standard cd. It was a challenge, but I found around 22 minutes of music to include. I felt and still feel it is the strongest work I have produced to date.

Fast forward about ten years; the CD is long out of print. Steve Roach suggested that I release the CD again but this time as a full-length version. I went back into my archives and found a couple of tracks that I did not include on the original release due to length. “Liquid Metal Statis” appeared on the Hypnos Compilation CD Weightless, Effortless and has been slightly remixed for this disc. The other was an alternative version of the song “Eclipse,” now called “Another Cloud.” Completing the vision are tracks “Tenganan Grove” and “Lambat Lane.”­

credits

released October 10, 2016

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Projekt Records Portland, Oregon

Projekt is America's premier independent label specializing in passionately intense introspective music across a variety of darkwave genres (ambient, ethereal, darkwave, electronic, goth, dark cabaret, dreampop & more). Projekt is home to a diverse roster including Steve Roach, Voltaire, Erik Wollo, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, vidnaObmana, Unto Ashes, Alio Die, Byron Metcalf, and others. ... more

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