Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dean De Benedictis - “Salvaging The Present” CD

Inventive surrealist sound

Veteran composer De Benedictis has been around for some time, and “Salvaging The Present” is a unique melding of elements from various musical streams, gelled into an immersive and uniquely inventive and personal mix that would easily function as a soundtrack to a playful surrealist film.

Opening with the curious “To The Ends Of Elation”, which joins elements of prog-rock with immersive ambiance, De Benedictis brings together unusual and often disparate elements into his hallucinogenic sound stew. “Micro Souls Anthem” has a similarly upbeat and lively vibe with nicely deep mixing. “Pagoda Tiempo” uses a sampled and effected slice of dramatic orchestral strings before drifting into a more celestial ambience. Just beautiful and so very effective. “Never The Sacred Stretch” could easily function as an electronic soundtrack to a surreal interpretation of “Alice In Wonderland”. “The Purity Of Season 279E” brings to mind a rolling Western desert landscape, somehow, whereas “Whisper County” is a gentle reverberation from times past, as remembered from a wooden porch and a rocking chair. “Regret In G (The Sky Remembers)” closes it out with a drifty, almost shoegazey haze. 

De Benedictis isn’t afraid to cross genre boundaries, and calling this an “ambient” album is a disservice. Aspects are there, but “Salvaging The Present” is a modern electronic music journey that doesn’t have limits or boundaries. It’s a journey that I’ll want to make again.

En Esch - “Spank!” CD

Cool electro-rock from former KMFDM wildman

The enigmatic former co-frontman for KMFDM and Pigface here releases his second true solo album, and it’s a solid, enjoyable electro-rock album that falls right in line with his past work, with elements of hard rock and metal as well as clubby dance elements.

Opening with the club-metal of “12345” (which features a guest appearance from Tim Skold), the album heads into the anthemic “Hard On”, which would fit well on any KMFDM album. “Give The People What They Want” recalls Esch’s 1993 solo album, “Cheesy”, with a groovy electro-funk grunge sound. “Soul To Steal” is a trance-electronica cut that brings the exotic vocals of Trixie Reiss to the forefront. Further cuts bring present En Esch’s sense of humor (as in the silly interlude “I Hop”) before diving back into his aggressive rock-dance melding (the menacing “No Guts No Glory”). En Esch has retained the sound(s) that made him famous so many years ago, as well as kept the sense of experimentation that seems to have left Sascha’s KMFDM a long time ago. As much as I hate comparing En Esch’s work 20 years later to his formative act, the link is still there, and En Esch does it as well or, in many cases, better.