From The Desk Of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness: Indonesian Music And Shadow Plays

“There was no sense of urgency, no real plan to finish this album,” says Chris Goyer, lead singer of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, a band that’s taken eight years to follow-up Fear Is On Our Side. With titles like “You Are Dead To Me” and “The Sun Burns Out,” Dust picks up exactly where Fear left off, piling dark atmospherics on top of pained, brooding, impenetrable lyrics about whatever happened to be on Goyer’s mind when the tape started rolling. If it sounds heavy, that’s because Ministry’s Paul Barker produced the album, just like the one before. If it occasionally sounds lighter, that’s because the rest of the band members—Daniel Del Favero, Ed Robert, Ernest Salaz and Tim White—haven’t lost their fondness for modular synths, chorus pedals and looping guitar arpeggios. ILYBICD will be guest editing all week. Read our recent feature on them.


“The Balinese believe there are two parts of the world: the visible world, and the invisible world, and that the shadow is in-between the two.” – Larry Reed

Salaz: Back in the late ‘90s, I’d started listening to minimalist composers like Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Erik Satie, but also heard similar approaches in electronic music with Brian Eno and Richard D. James (a.k.a. Aphex Twin). It was rhythmic, repetitive, trance-like and had a completely different sense of time and space. This path led me to Indonesian gamelan music. Indonesian gamelan music is thousands of years old, and it’s timeless as it is mindful of time. Unlike Western music, Indonesian gamelan functions more like the gears in a clock, with cyclical, repetitive, interlocking parts (called kotekan) overlapping until they realign on the same beat, usually indicated by a deep, low gong. I joined a gamelan ensemble in college called Sekar Setaman, and became aware of Larry Reed and his work with ShadowLight Productions, which produced shadow puppet plays in the style of wayang kulit. Larry tells complex stories with music, lights, shadows and perspective that for me resonate much deeper than any movie with the latest CGI effects.

Videos after the jump.