Music by John van Loon

Dark Territory – Libera Me


Engelse recensie door Sebastian Hühn van, 18 oktober 2007.

DT_LM_front_border_600Dark Territory is different from the familiar underground. Sinister Ethno and electronic beats fuse together into an ethereal mesh”. That is the probably best description of the style of Dark Territory and it is without a doubt a unique mixture. The project was founded by the Dutch producers and musicians John and Jamez and was initially a side-project of Lemonsoul. John is also the live keyboarder of AngelTheory at European gigs. Jamez already contributed to more than 100 releases in a period of 10 years. Dark Territory was initially a side project of Lemonsoul. This is the alias under which the two musicians already distinguish themselves by producing house music. The discography of Dark Territory includes the first album ‘Libera me’ and the ‘DarkFlower EP’ , which is only available as a digital download via iTunes etc. The new album ‘Dichotomy’ is planned for a release in December 2007.

Track Review

01. Ptolomea – 5:05
For those of you, who already read Dante’s divine comedy, this name should sound familiar. Ptolomea is the name of the third ring in the ninth circle of hell, where those, who betrayed their guests, are condemned to lie on their backs in a frozen lake for all eternity, where their tears are creating blocks of ice over their eyes. The song starts with a polyphonic chant underlined by a deep choral sound that soon fades to give way to a melody that sounds as if it was played by a church organ, accentuated by gentle electronic beats and sounds. The song switches between two parts during its course. On one hand there are those chanted passages with the dense atmosphere on the other hand those calmer passages with a subliminal tension.

02. Deliver me – 5:27
This song is something special lyric-wise as well as song-wise. The lyrics of Deliver me are taken from the “Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead”. To be more precise: the lyrics are part of the closing rate of “Messa da Requiem” called “Libera me” and created by Giuseppe Verdi in 1874. The lyrics are performed in the original language, which is Latin. “Libera me de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda” which means “Deliver me from everlasting death on that dread day”. The musical shape of this topic irritated me at first, but if you give it a few spins you’ll surely love it. The musical accentuation is pending between the atmospheric and the other side of the medal, where harsh beats and sequencer lines dominate the scenery.

03. DarkFlower – 4:33
The complete song was created by improvisation and as the song was finished the band felt that DarkFlower would be the perfect name. The lyrics were written after the song was completed. After listening to the song once more, John had the image of a dark flower that absorbs all light in his mind, what inspired him to write the lyrics, which sound almost like a poem to me. Carried by John’s voice and the wide synth layers, you drift into another world.

04. Tora Firome – 3:56
The uplifting melody of this song was improvised over a lute like sample, when John was playing with the idea of layering multiple vocal parts. Mighty orchestral strings and percussions were added to complete the song. So much about the history of the song, this is one of my favourites on the album. Very balladry and solemn, the song carries you away.

05. Creator I – 4:27
The counterpart to the previous two songs. Where they were very calm, this song is aggressive with it’s harsh club beats and it’s angry and distorted vocals. But it has a lot of atmosphere because of the mighty and dark strings used. The lyrics are performed in English this time and display the hopelessness and desperation of the protagonist. He seeks for peace of mind and calls on the Creator so he might help him, because he fears that he can’t bear this situation any longer.

“Just tell me how to kill ideas,
tell me how to breathe
I’m hunting for tranquillity,
will it ever leave…”

06. Intermezzo – 0:35
As the name already states it: a short instrumental track that works with some strange noises and suddenly just ends. It also functions as a bridge to connect the two different atmospheres of Creator I and Vrijdag

07. Vrijdag – 3:47
The title of the song means Friday in Dutch. This song is rather rhythmic due to the use of percussion. The vocals are improvised, but it is not so important, what the meaning of those words is. The vocalization is rather used to transfer a certain feeling in combination with the melody.

08. Ankesuei – 4:52
Vocals first this time! I was really impressed of John’s vocal performance on this track. I knew that his voice is remarkable, but on Ankesuei, it nearly blew me off my chair. The track slowly builds up layer by layer until the chant appears and directly captures you with its warmth and depth. And when the song ends way too soon, it is like you’re awakening from a dream.

09. Trista me – 5:04
Another song based on a vocal improvisation. This time, the vocals are performed in two different pitches to combine to different melodies in one song and one can call the result felicitous. I also like those strings arrangements, that were added, cause of the certain feeling of melancholy they spread.

10. Entr’Acte – 0:46
Another short instrumental piece that sounds like industrial.

11. Kalandare – 6:25
A song that conjures up a certain scene in my mind, where I’m looking upon a wide field und the sun is about to set and sends their last rays of light over these grounds and a voice reaches my ears, that might just be an echo, that passes through time and space from a long forgotten past. A very moody piece of music, that is again a vocal improvisation, this time constructed around a bourdon tone. After a short break a heavy beat appears, that gives the song more structure, but it does not destroy the magical atmosphere this song creates. Just listen for yourself and you’ll know what I mean.

12. Creator II – 3:11
Same song, but a different approach, while Creator I was really focussed on the harsh beats, this version is more focussing on atmosphere and John’s voice. You really can drown in this multi-layered melody textures. Even if one could think that, because it’s usual these days, the chorals are not created by a synthesizer. These chorals were created with the help of four guest vocalists and it does intensify the atmosphere of the song a lot in my opinion. Unfortunately the song is way too short and ends after about 3 minutes. After a rather short gap there’s also a hidden track on the album called Inferno which brings back elements of Ptolomea and was therefore the perfect ending to the album.


The first thing you need to have is a little bit time. This music doesn’t unfold its true beauty after the first listen. This was at least the case with me, but if you let the music some time to grow on you you’ll love it and drift into another world with such tracks like Tora Firome or Ankesuei for example. I’d also like to mention John’s voice which is really remarkable especially I love his performance on Ankesuei where he almost sounds like an opera singer to me. Well… to cut it short this is a really beautiful album, worth to discover and a new album is about to be released in December and I’m really curious about it.