Dean de Benedictus – Salvaging the Past

Spotted Peccary Music recently sent us a care package with a variety of their releases, and we’ve been impressed with the consistent quality of their artists and recordings. The latest recording by Dean De Benedictus, Salvaging the Past, is no exception.

On this release, Benedictus deftly mixes a wide variety of sounds, ranging from the clearly synthetic to the acoustic sounds of cello, drums and voice. He also mixes a wide variety of genres and influences, creating a complex synth music/ambient/new age style of his own.

Benedictus comments on the album:

Our physical realm is comprised of drastically separate entities mix-matching and ambiguously aligning into one harmonious collage. Such is the underlying principal behind Salvaging The Past. It is not the first time I’ve based a project on this philosophy. So much of my unreleased work had been inspired by this principle, and specifically by a variety of traditional ambient music genres, that eventually I felt compelled to tie this particular work together… how could I not? With some songs containing an intense electronic base and others a pure acoustic base, creating the mood for Salvaging The Past was tricky, but I do feel that we brought the music together as best as possible. As always, it is all from the same soul.

One of the highlights of the CD is Chasm Enchanted, a track featuring the cello work of Peter Ludwig. Benedictis creates an interesting drone environment that envelops the cello, while leaving Ludwig plenty of room to explore.

Another very interesting track is Sweltering Gazes of Sonora. It showcase’s Benedictus ear for interesting textures and sounds, blending phased strings, percussive sequences, vocoder effects and some classic electronic keyboard sounds.

Then Bled a Tear is an ambient piano piece that shows Benedictus’ subtle side. The track is built around a droning background over which Benedictus layers piano chords processed with a reverse echo effect, making the piano notes appear to slowly emerge from the droning backdrop.

The final track, Same Drone, Different Story seems to tip its hat to guitarist Steve Tibbetts, featuring hand percussion, electric and acoustic guitar, and a variety of flutes and drones. The track seems like it is about to end about nine and a half minutes into the piece, and then it transitions to a slow droning section that focuses on the reflective electric guitar work of Nels Cline.

Salvaging the Past is an attractive collection of ambient/new age compositions that showcases Dean De Benedictus’ skillful blend of acoustic and electronic orchestration and some expressive playing, especially by collaborator Peter Ludwig on cello. Audio samples are available at the Spotted Peccary Music site.

Tracks

  • The Tech Atonement Of Bilagana
  • Chasm Enchanted
  • Occur
  • Grid Holy 4
  • Where Is The Northern Sorrow?
  • Sweltering Gazes of Sonora
  • Then Bled A Tear
  • Death For Music
  • Memories Echo Far Ablaze In The Valleys
  • Same Drone, Different Story

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