DEAN DE BENEDICTIS: Salvaging The Present (2016)
“This is an album as fascinating as difficult to tame where it's necessary to persevere in order to discover all its wealth, all its depth”
1 To the End of Elations 8:29 2 Micro Souls Anthem 8:18 3 Pagoda Tiempo 9:36 4 Never the Sacred Stretch 7:58 5 Night Arch 7:51 6 Blue Mesa 6:57 7 The Purity of Season 279E 8:25 8 Whisper Country 6:24 9 Regret in G (The Sky Remembers) 6:02 Spotted Peccary | SPM-1702
(DDL/Spotify 70:04) (V.F.) (Psybient, Experimental Electronica and film music)
Atypical and not really easy to tame, SALVATING THE PRESENT is this kind of album which seduces by its atmospheres and its texture well before its structures of rhythms or its melodic patterns. In fact, it's the sound aestheticism that will attract the ears curious to rub themselves in a style of ambient Electronica and at the least very experimental. Pushing the boldness up to the bottom of our eardrums, Dean De Benedictis weaves a universe of sounds where are spawning many pieces of rhythms and of melodies which pop out from everywhere but not were expected. And each time, our senses, our ears and our judgment always stay in the limits of questioning.
To the End of Elations begins with a relative intensity. Knockings and layers of synth, guitar chords and felted explosions, voices and radioactive waves form the genesis of this opening title where everything is drawn from a world that we consider futuristic, so much the perfumes of Vangelis and his Blade Runner embalm the atmospheres. A form of rhythm emerges at the edge of 150 seconds. While notes of piano unfold a veil of nostalgia, the percussions are awakening quietly this very industrial down-tempo and whose lively structure is decorated by an acoustic six-strings as well as these strange cooing of the synth. A little more vigorous and immensely nebula, the structure of rhythm is wrapped up in a stunning sound mosaic where our ears have difficulty to count the effects and the instruments used and which make of To the End of Elations a fascinating opening for SALVATING THE PRESENT. At times that sounds like a music theme, while at other moments that sounds like a very good psybient, as melancholic as melodic. I don't say that we hook straight away, but our ears, as long as that they are attentive, have found a pretty good sonic gold mine. That continues with the small knocks of bursts of the percussions which open the structure a little bit Ska of Micro Souls Anthem. The line of bass spits its snores of which the amplitudes resound on a bed of agitated percussions and get lost in layers voices filled of lunar prism. There are some flashes of Patrick O'Hearn which slumber in this structure which aims to be the most lively, except for the finale, of the album. Afterward, we enter into the unknown! Pagoda Tiempo offers a long structure of atmospheres rich in sound effects and in effects of intensity. There also we can easily tie a link with a dark futuristic music theme like Blade Runner. Never the Sacred Stretch is the most interesting title of this strange mosaic of sounds. A structure of rhythm knotted in intensity tries constantly to hatch in an ambiance which is near of the nocturnal madnesses forced by a too big dose of hallucinogens. The rhythm (can we call that rhythm?) explodes from we don't know where and takes a ghost shape out of the unknown. Except that the evolution and the changes of sonic scene are completely delicious. It's as brilliant as awesome! Night Arch proposes a structure of dark ambiences which is going to remind you the first albums of Tangerine Dream with its electrified rhythms which quiver by impulses.
If we like the dark ambient side of Steve Roach, kind of Immersion series, Blue Mesa will please you! The rather telepathic universe of The Purity of Season 279th is a little disturbing with these sound waves which look for elements of radioactivity and these voices which whisper in order to feed a kind of paranoia. The music here is also very filmic with a violin which drags its melancholic sighs in the shadow of a bass line which crawls like the best titles of movie music from Patrick O'Hearn. The finale is more oniric, like the introduction of Whisper Country where a delicate carousel of arpeggios shines in a kind of ballad for imps. Here, as everywhere on this last album of the one who has so much seduced the aficionados of the Ambient Berlin School with his Surface 10 project, the rhythms come from where? We just don't know! And they take an unknown shape in a mass of sound effects as much attractive than intriguing. A little as a kind of very morphic down-tempo with percussions which click and a violin coated of a sad melody from Asia. Regret in G (The Sky Remembers) concludes this fascinating album from Dean De Benedictis with a structure of rhythm knotted in restraint with effects of bass which want to explode like the firing of a crossbow in a dense veil of cloudiness. The atmospheres are very Roach, like in Blue Mesa, but with a rhythmic genesis which eventually dried up its knocks to evaporate themselves in the tears of a violin. There is of all in here, as in each corner of SALVATING THE PRESENT. Chords of a guitar perfumed of a little Country music, Layers of voices and of synths and these percussions which sound like worn out hoofs. In brief, an album as fascinating as difficult to tame where it's necessary to persevere in order to discover all its wealth, all its depth. In fact, and even if it's not totally my kind, I have quite enjoyed this first meeting with the music of Dean De Benedictis and his SALVATING THE PRESENT. What do you want! We have to know how to widen our horizons!
Sylvain Lupari (October 28th, 2016) ***½**
Available at Spotted Peccary Music Bandcamp