DESENSITIZED: Hemispherica Portalis (Portal Of 1000 Years) (2020)
“We begin the discovery of Hemispherica Portalis by telling ourselves that we are going to face a universe of tribal psybient”
1 Hemispherica Portalis
(Portal of 1000 Years) 6:58
2 Concunus Dracus
(Dragon of the Heavens) 9:30
3 Formulata Oblivonos
(A Complicated Tale) 9:14
4 Ecumenicus Orato
(The Umbilical Center) 12:54
5 Saltis Nominus
(Floating Seabeds) 11:38
6 Terminus Equitos
(Redemption Seeker) 6:09
(Myths and Legends) 9:05
(CD/DDL 65:29) (V.F.)
A woodland flute accompanies the light synthesized breeze which makes Hemispherica Portalis rise to our ears. At the same time, a tonal flora worthy of this fabulous artwork-cover, flowery at the same time as a bass line adds a cinematographic dimension, kind of drama. This flowering of tones adjusts to the panorama of ambiences by inserting these various palettes (do I hear a trumpet somewhere?) which accompany the slow procession of a piano lost in this torrent of breezes, of fluty embraces and of orchestrations of a parallel universe which stigmatize Portal of 1000 Years in the serene environment of HEMISPHERICA PORTALIS (Portal of 1000 Years). We don't know a thing about Desensitized, but we know the two musicians who concoct a fascinating soundtrack there which has this essence of Elvish mythology, like in the enchanted forests of the universes of J. R. R. Tolkien. Deborah Martin, a synthesist known for her melodious tribal approaches, and Dean De Benedictis, better known for his experimental approaches, are at the origin of this intense mood album which is based upon the ideas of ambient music of the generation Peace & Love of the psychedelic years, but in a context of modernization of tones. The two musicians confront their styles in a setting of meditative music with the complicity of digital synths at the cutting edge of technology, creating a limitless tonal flora which is at the origin of luxuriant panoramas with the most disparate tonal colors. A realization of the American label Spotted Peccary, HEMISPHERICA PORTALIS (Portal of 1000 Years) is a juicy album in the headphones that is offered in both 16 and 24-bit download format as well as a manufactured CD that comes in a splendid six-panel digipack adorned with this magnificent canvas by Daniel Pipitone.
Concunus Dracus creates a climate similar to that of the opening track. A wavy line radiates its warm waves from which emerges a synth chant and its aromas of sibylline flutes. The decoration is supported by the Chinese shadows of this chant which begins to undulate, to zigzag as being invaded by the opium of the Sages. These first two titles plunge the listener into a monument of ambiences which could have taken place without intermission, so much they flow from the same source. And it's with the ears full of flowers that Formulata Oblivonos blooms between them. Its introduction is woven into mysticism with a waddling of the spheres of atmospheres which lays the beginnings of a vague and distant rhythm. And in this enchanted mosaic, all forms of rhythms provide a dimension of ecstasy by breaking up the context of serenity. Different tonal colors, and different breezes flood its beginning of road where a series of shamanic shimmers and dull explosions are grafted. The rhythmic backbone feeds on the intensity that swells as the seconds are filling our eardrums of a voracious lush. Percussions, shimmers, and clicks of the thumb on the index, the rhythm takes shape little by little without exploding but rather weakening in jets of mist and these Chinese chants of the Spectrasonics Omnisphere. Ecumenicus Orato blossoms with another of these oriental songs. Other sighs are added to this decor that fascinating gurgling sounds project like a greenish aura. The power of orchestration sculpts an ethereal vision of another planet, which distorted synth vocals bring back to a vintage psychedelic zone. This longest track of HEMISPHERICA PORTALIS (Portal of 1000 Years) offers another lush esoteric structure with a soft approach of cosmic music asleep by the different holograms of Tibetan airs in an area well fed by organic noises, as in short implosions of which the radiations fail to tip The Umbilical Center into a rhythmic phase.
We seem to be going in circles in this Desensitized's adventure! Except that we are dealing with two veterans who are masters in the art of infusing a rhythmic framework in their meditative textures. Saltis Nominus deploys a much more electronic vibe where various bells ring in a fascinating universe filled with organic matter and deformed voice effects. The second part of Floating Seabeds is a pure delight for the eardrums with a kind of procession of thousands of stars which merge in a delicate ascending rhythm. A unique and magical moment that makes me think of listening to Michael Stearns soon 😊. A finger pushes a switch and the sound lights up our ears. This principle of openness is for each title up to here, while twisted and misshapen lines take control of Terminus Equitos. It's an astonishing Berlin School that catches our ears with an oscillating rhythm rushing like a ghost train in a plain of disparate tones. Luminous sequences and indigenous percussions give a spectral dimension to this rhythm decorated with a membrane of contemporary psybient. This rhythm is booming in a sonic delirium which exceeds, in this context, all my expectations. So good that this Redemption Seeker, inserting towards the end of this album gives it a new look. Amphibinatum (Myths and Legends) ends HEMISPHERICA PORTALIS (Portal of 1000 Years) with an acoustic vision merged with all the paraphernalia of the organic fauna attached to this album. The acoustic six-string carries chords that can harmonize with these synthesized streaks and their greenish powder of a universe where sounds are sources of charm and fascination.
We begin the discovery of HEMISPHERICA PORTALIS (Portal of 1000 Years) by telling ourselves that we are going to face a universe of tribal psybient mainly designed with the Native Instruments Reaktor. Wearing a headset makes it a little easier to discover it, while my Totems have grown ferns in my living room. The Desensitized duo master the 65 minutes of this album with brio, thus avoiding the listener to dive into a territory hostile to a first listening by keeping them constantly on the alert with an invisible but palpable crescendo when we are attaches to it.
Sylvain Lupari (October 12th, 2020) *****
Available at Spotted Peccary Music