“Hemispherica Portalis” is the debut collaboration album from the collective imagination of Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis. Performing under the moniker “Desensitized,” these two veteran ambient electronic sound explorers have joined forces to craft a thought-provoking work of art that combines ancient and futuristic moods into a captivating world of sound, filling the imagination with illusory images of undiscovered realms.

The abstract and alluring music that unfolds across the album’s seven tracks is in many ways just what one would expect when De Benedictis & Martin’s recognizable yet disparate styles are focused into a singular expression. “Hemispherica Portalis” acts as a jumping-off point for the duo’s “Desensitized” deep dive into a new form of texture-based sonic exploration – one that merges vintage space-music tendencies with a modern electronic ambient style. Roiling in slow motion, Deborah’s signature sounds and digital synth expressions expand and contract as the occasional acoustic flourish or melodic moment briefly bubbles to the surface. Added to that are the nuanced layers of Dean’s remarkable laptop-based sound-sculpting approach and the resulting array of textural, experimental, and at times gritty elements that he expertly swirls into the mix. This blending of the two artist’s distinct sonic palettes and differing styles paints an appealing and cohesive soundscape that is lush, refreshing, and truly special.

“I knew the drastic contrast between our two approaches would likely yield something new,” explains Dean. “Deborah has a majestic and pristine melodic style, while I bring a textural and sometimes edgy experimental approach, using sounds I often create on the spot. I find the combination of our layers and approaches uniquely lush and personally refreshing.”

Deborah elaborates, “Dean’s years of sound sculpting expertise paid off in ways I can never fully explain; as soon as I began playing the melodic basic song structures, he was immediately adding textures and nuances that glued the passages into place. The creative result is a breathtaking display of original sound samplings, live recorded textural beds, and electronic elements melding into a profound ambient electronic revelation.”

Together as “Desensitized,” Deborah Martin & Dean De Benedictis summon a unique and expansive sound that is vivid, alive, colorful, and surreal, as the subtle dreamscapes of “Hemispherica Portalis” offer a sublime retreat into sonic beauty, where past and future echoes mingle, collide, and fuse into dreams, deeply alien…yet somehow familiar.

To sample tracks or purchase click here.

If you would like a signed copy by artist Deborah Martin you can order direct from her from the wizardscache.com site.  Click the PayPal link on the right side bar.  The cost plus shipping is $20 per CD and make sure to includes you name and present mailing address at the PayPal sight.

Reviews:

“This is an album to be savored like a fine wine, full of nuance, with great balance, flavor, complexity, and just the right length on the finish.”


“The artists deploy new technologies which create a sonic experience that has never before been considered.”


“It is very relaxing and can be meditative and contemplative all at once.”


“This blending of the two artist’s distinct sonic palettes and differing styles paints an appealing and cohesive soundscape that is lush, refreshing, and truly special.”


-“What distinguishes the recording most, however, is its live dimension, the impression it engenders of material being born and sculpted in the moment rather than pre-programmed.”

Brainvoyager

Written by Robin James, September 22nd, 2020

Hemispherica Portalis – Spotted Peccary Music SPM-9063

 On Hemispherica Portalis, the first from the creative entity calling itself Desensitized, we are faced with unknown possibilities. The sound: electronica and air, changing into new unnamed forms and impressions. It starts with flutes, winds through a vast array of electronic illusions and ends with harps. The sound brings the listener through new territory in the electronic ambient universe, two astonishing artists collaborating on a colossal sonic adventure, a series of creative acts and intellectual contemplation where the “experiencer” and “experienced” argue about the ways in which supernatural agents formed the earth and peopled it, the causation to direct the natural forces to produce various effects, and often inspires at least one ambition of science: to invent an explanation, translating the unknown into the known. However, the constant listener should not make the error of believing. Always question what can be assumed, and most of all, enjoy the show.

 1. About the album Hemispherica Portalis

 Millions of small sounds…

…lush melodic electronica that transports listeners into new territories, blending edgy textural and experimental sound craft with a commanding sense of depth and imagination. What I hear on Hemispherica Portalis is not traditionally melodic, I hear lots of textures, there are no words except for the song titles. The artists deploy new technologies which create a sonic experience that has never before been considered.

This album of sonic mythology is really different and essential, I think it is best suited for late night listening, when the planet is very quiet. There are so many tiny details and shivers to be experienced. Questions to be pondered, such as, are those myths and legends fanciful stories of something that existed only in the minds of our ancestors, or were they based on true events? How was the earth created? Why do we have night and day? Why do people die? How did the human species arise? There are no lyrics heard in the music, so your thoughts and discoveries are ultimately unlimited.

Music is organized sound, an invisible expression that lights up your inner universe. Here are some new colors and materials. Here are some delicate flavors for your tongue’s ears, moving between different points in time, experiencing products of vivid imagination, whose goals aren’t purely to portray phenomena beyond comprehension, but perhaps they function to assure, encourage, and inspire. In the history of humans it has been said that the world has always existed, or the world did not always exist but was created in some way, or the world previously existed, but in another form, and has somehow been brought into this present moment. Music can provide an atmosphere for thinking new thoughts.

In my mind, Salvador Dali’s abstract…

…clocks glow across a dark background, representing time travel theories. Not all scientists believe that time travel is possible. Myths are a folklore genre consisting of narratives or stories that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. Many societies group their myths, legends, and history close together, considering such stories to be true accounts of their remote past and mix into a blend of all their folktales, fairy tales, superstitions, weatherlore, ghost stories, as well as stories of isles and continents lost below the surface of the waters.

I sometimes wonder if some kinds of music permits the spirits of ancient humans to continue to navigate the seas, explore lost civilizations, examine sacred writings, tour ancient places, investigate ancient discoveries, question mysterious happenings, to ponder creation, divine will, fertility, death, and love – such concepts that are a universal part of many cultures throughout the world. Tales are told and sung, perhaps someone might embellish a detail here, exclude a name there, transpose two incidents, amplify a cryptic part, perhaps sometimes one might give greater motive or justification to an action. The only important question might be, do you like the way it sounds?

 2. The tracks

 A millennium (plural millennia or millenniums)…

…is a period of one thousand years. The first track on Hemispherica Portalis is the title track “Hemispherica Portalis” (6:58) Portal of 1000 Years and is a splendid sort of a gateway, the listener is greeted by a cloud or hive of flutes swirling about in caverns. In the oldest caves archeologists have found ancient flutes that were played in the darkness, enjoying the echo found there. I also hear a steel guitar; I like the way the steel guitar sounds in the mix. The album notes list the following gear – flute, Taos drums, and percussion… Rode NT4 microphone. Synths and electronics: Yamaha Motif, Roland V-synth GT, Roland Integra, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, and Native Instruments Reaktor.

“Concunus Dracus” (9:30) Dragon of the Heavens. A dragon is a legendary creature that has been depicted variously as large, serpentine, winged, horned, four-legged, capable of breathing fire, and with above-average intelligence. The word is also a metaphor for difficulty or danger. There is no reptilian roaring or sound of any physical beast on this track, but you can sense the heart, wisdom, and power of the dragon. Perhaps there are bowed metallic strings joined by what sounds to me like steam powered keyboards played in an unusually large cathedral, calm and minimally illuminated. I hear rushing air in tubes, the sound of an ancient and enormous organ that continues to play for eternity as our ears approach and then recede.

 Only the oblivion of sleep…

…can heal the greatest traumas. “Formulata Oblivonos” (9:14) A Complicated Tale. Utopias in general are surrogates for heaven, in the beginning there was a period of chaos, the sound of a migration of the soul or consciousness from this existence into another, within the frame of a dreamless sleep, the privation of all sentience. What I hear is a forgotten form, throbbing with echoes, a drama of darkness with tiny details sparkling. Eventually a pattern emerges, I hear chimes and odd clicks that soon form a steady pulse, visited by an arpeggiating harpsichord, all within a vast chamber where rushing air continues on and on.

Now we come to the middle, “Ecumenicus Orato” (12:54) The Umbilical Center. Prayer is an invocation or physical act that seeks to activate a connection with an object of worship through direct communication, either for supplication or to request intercession, and is directed towards a deity, or as a ritually obligatory and repetitive practice to sustain a sense of normalcy and peace.

A common form of prayer is to directly appeal to a deity to grant one’s requests, and can be sometimes described as the person praying having a dialogue or conversation with God, which can quiet the mind to allow an awareness of enlightened intention. Prayer might also be a calming spiritual method to prevent illness, cure disease, or improve health. What I hear on this track are layers emerging into new worlds, this is the centerpiece of the album Hemispherica Portalis, the longest track, with sustained organ tones and strings sometimes becoming almost a melody, long slow notes that allow for your own prayers or ponderment.

 This next one is my favorite…

…”Saltis Nominus” (11:38) Floating Seabeds. I remember that supernatural sea creatures were said to live in underwater caves or submerged palaces made from sunken ships, some with the legs and wings of underwater birds, some playing a great variety of musical instruments. Ancient animals that can adapt to different conditions through time, where their young find cover from predators until they are mature. In this area the laws of physics are violated, and it was even suggested there is extraterrestrial activity there. What I hear are delicate pulses under water, tubes of infinite length and electronic chimes, strange insects purring and calling, with a bit more bounce as the song progresses. Some ringing metal, some bugs and waterbirds at night. My ears have many adventures each time I listen to this one.

The border rider. A rider of the furthest distances, circumambulating the boundaries of the kingdom, perhaps on a fabled horse. Some call the border rider an opportunist or naive idealist, perhaps the border rider is merely one of the people who think differently. “Terminus Equitos” (6:09) Redemption Seeker. I hear strong fragments and blurred motion, tiny clues for a picture that is just too big to see all at once.

History was intended to…

…describe events we know actually happened, whereas myths and legends are often repeated by generation after generation, and are never actually required to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The final track on Hemispherica Portalis is “Amphibinatum” (9:05) Myths and Legends. Your eyes widen in surprise as the light from your torch brightens the dark cavern. A sound that might be from a subterranean ocean reaches you from a distorting distance, a sparkling harp blended with humming whales from deep space coasting past, and that somehow changes into twilight with fields of rainbow fireflies. The study of amphibians is called batrachology. Amphibians typically start out as larvae living in water and undergo metamorphosis from larva with gills to an adult air-breathing form with lungs, they live in dark places, I wonder what they hear?

 3. The musicians

In my personal meditations whilst…

…listening to Hemispherical Portalis, the dream vistas were terrifying and exhilarating. I experienced a sense of beauty, flamboyant and bizarre, often allied with death and rebirth, the gap between the world of the known and the “other” worlds. Mythographers first cultivated the idea that natural phenomena were in actuality conscious beings or gods, seeking to discover underlying themes that are common to the myths of multiple cultures, discarding spent storied vehicles of supreme truth and all efforts to comprehend and control an “eternal return” to the mythical age as it has been handed down from the beginning of the earth’s creation.

Mythopoeia (‘I make myth’) so to invent my own artificially constructed mythology, mainly for the purpose of storytelling, for suspense to excite the audience with a story of the oldest gods, perhaps a useful drama and romance, perhaps a religious account of the beginning of the world, the creation, fundamental events, the exemplary deeds of the recent heroes. Music draws forth the human imagination, which has been nurtured on individual experience, and enhanced by folklore studies, philology, psychology, and anthropology.

Desensitized is a collaborative project realized between Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis. The name Desensitized could be an antidote for our strange times, seeking relief from the most recent changes that have emerged from the teetering and whirling globe we live on. The controversial author H.P. Lovecraft once postulated that the most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. Desensitized is a balm for these new tribulations we are living through now.

Deborah Martin is blessed with a vivid imagination and a deep love of historic places and peoples of the past, she has the ability to travel through space and time to create a mystical and energizing sound journey, a melding of modern and ancient music. She blends visual elements of places, people and events of long ago with sound, theatre arts, music, anthropology and medicine. She is a multi-instrumentalist, her favorites include ambient electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, orchestral textures, Taos drums and flute.

In previous albums she has been known to use sampling technology to include partial segments of Omaha and Kiowa Indian cylinder recordings from 1894, and live recordings of Kiowa pow wow songs as well as field recordings from her own travels to places such as Nepal and Tibet. Her sound comes from a very deep and ancient place, whispery melodies and lush, haunting chordal movements, evoking the sights and sounds of past and present while invoking the theme of sacred spaces.

Deborah Martin’s releases on…

…Spotted Peccary Music include Selections (2018), Eye Of The Wizard (2015), Under The Moon 20th Anniversary (2015), Deep Roots, Hidden Water (2010), Between Worlds (with Erik Wøllo, 2009), Anno Domini (with J. Arif Verner, 2007), Tibet (with Cheryl Gallagher, 2004), Convergence (with Greg Klamt and Mark Rownd, 2002), and Ancient Power (with Steve Gordon, 1998).

 Dean De Benedictis’ releases on…

…Spotted Peccary Musicinclude Salvaging The Present (2016) and Salvaging The Past (2005). In 1996, Dean De Benedictis released Surface 10, his debut ambient electronic music CD on Hypnotic/Cleopatra Records, featuring dark ambient soundscapes with a borderline space rock sound. He gained momentum performing with groups including Brand X and The Stratos Ensemble, creating new sounds, sometimes exploring techno tribal and ambient music and sometimes going into altogether new unnamed places. Also, he is the co-founder and producer of Cyberstock, an outdoor music concert and visual arts display held in the Santa Monica Mountains, the founder of both Fateless Records, and the Fateless Flows Collective.

He has a mountain of recording accomplishments, many of which include visual components. In addition to Spotted Peccary, Hypnotic/Cleopatra and Fateless Records, his work has also been recorded on DiN and Novabeats. His sound has been described as electronica, experimental, ambient, IDM, Berlin school, jazz fusion, progressive rock, tribal, down tempo, and drum & bass. Some of his favorite instruments include piano, synthesizer, guitar, voice, Native American flute, and percussion.

4. Where to buy Hemispherica Portalis?

You can buy the album Hemispherica Portalis at the store of Spotted Peccary Music and Bandcamp.
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Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

New Age Music Reviews Founder

November 11, 2020

Hemispherica Portalis (Portal Of 1000 Years) debut collaboration album is Desensitized from the collective imagination and talent of Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis. The duo also partnered in producing their music. The superlative mastering was provided by Howard Givens.

I must be a natural space cadet because I love this kind of music! I think the door tends to open a little quicker if you have an affinity for instrumental based music. And I most certainly do.

This collaborative effort merges the artistry of two very talented individuals into one functioning musical unit. They create a multitude of layers of sound and magnificent colors and textures for the mind to assimilate. It is very relaxing and can be meditative and contemplative all at once. That may sound complex but it is not, these kinds of reactions to music without words can be quite normal. I do speak for myself, however. We are all different but yet all the same with similar needs so music is easy to relate to wherever you are on the planet presently.

The titles look to be in a language similar to Greek primarily, then translated in parenthesis in the track list. Perhaps this gives thought to inspiration from Greek Mythology. I may be off on that assessment but just the same it is food for thought and gives the music an imaginary storyline that can be created by each listener. One look at the beautiful science-fiction artwork of the cover gives credence to a possible story and engages the senses and imagination. If you have a pulse this is going to happen if you become aware of all the aspects of what is being offered here. The CD comes in a nice cardboard three-panel case with more otherworldly artwork and more pieces of literature dedicated to each track and art in a booklet to make things even more interesting and thought-provoking.

I must say I have been very intrigued by the Spotted Peccary label and their continually impressive releases this year. I am glad I have had the opportunity to find another subgenre of new age music that gives me the same feelings and calmness. I am easily all wrapped up in the music very quickly because it immediately gives me an invitation and I accept it wholeheartedly. This is a spiritual experience for me as I am sure it is for many others that are listeners or will become listeners soon. If not, give it a try, it may have the same effect. If that is not what you seek and you wish to have a pleasant listening experience while relaxing, this music will provide that for you.

As you can see by the track list some are quite long. It’s like watching a song within a song develop. The best example is “Ecumenicus Orato (The Umbilical Center),” which clocks in a few seconds short of thirteen minutes. Progressive rock is known for that but I do know after years of listening and getting more of this particular style of music, that it is common. The artists take a foundation and continually build upon it with keyboards, synths, and other sounds generated via electronic means, equipment, and software. There are a lot of interesting things tucked away in this music and some sounds of nature as well (and its inhabitants).

Desensitized blends the new with the old brilliantly using flute, Taos drums, and percussion and then implementing advanced software like the Spectrasonics Omnisphere. Now is it time for you to take a ride in the spaceship Hemispherica Portalis? Get your tickets and climb aboard!N

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R J Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews

Dust off your Latin and get ready for seven thrilling synthesized science fiction soundtracks. That’s the first thoughts I had when I listened to this remarkable collaboration between two veteran artists and composers, Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictus a.k.a. Desensitized.

Hemisperhica Portalis -Portal of a 1000 Years is a unique blending of styles resulting in sublime textural journeys. They traverse space, time and, as we will learn, dimensions. The mix is something arcane, a dexterous concoction of the organic process and the electronic medium. Both artists have been creating music for decades and both are skilled in not only building moods, but also in creating new worlds. Let us explore.

The first track, the title tune Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years) is a sonic revelation. You walk through the mysterious arch and you are whisked to another place. You feel as if you are inside a kaleidoscope of sounds, and the colors that the sounds produce are otherworldly. Even though you are at rest, the extraphysical landscape unrolls before you. What have you done? Concunus Dracus (Dragon of the Heavens) is very calming. Your initial fears are assuaged. You’re getting more comfortable. You begin your strange walkabout. You see stars clusters that you think are familiar. The music drones on, the melody is soothing. Then, every star becomes a pair of eyes. There be dragons here. Sinuously. Silently. Slithering. Of course, it is virtually impossible to tell who is playing what, but the quavers and waves seem to blend seamlessly into music that is as expansive as it is dreamlike. Formulata Oblivonos (A Complicated Tale), perhaps the forgotten formula, is lost to history in this world. You may stumble upon it during your visit here, but you will not remember it. The next track is called Ecumenicus Orato (The Umbilical Center) Is this the universal voice? Gentle horns beckon you, welcome you, and envelop you. The music is softly mesmerizing and you cannot ignore its siren call. You are still in control, but this flowing melody pulls you like an unseen hand. At more than twelve minutes, this is one of my favorites among many. Saltis Nominus (Floating Seabeds) sets your mind adrift in an ocean of green. Yes, this music has color. You can hear green as in Atlantic shores mixed with forests of drifting seaweed. This tune lets you wander to and fro, but you are buoyant. And oh, this sea is endless. There is a faint heartbeat in the tune Terminus Equitos (Redemption Seeker). It could mean riding to the edge or border and that is what it is. Musically, it is a slightly frenetic journey on winged feet, ever forward, never stopping. The music drives you, and pushes you to an unknown destination.

Amphibinatum (Myths and Legends)is one foot on land and the other in the sea. It could also be a wing or a fin, but it alludes to a visit to both worlds simultaneously. Water and land, places so different that life changes when one is in either, but here it is both. The music is harp-like, calming, reassuring. There are glimpses of the two worlds. Turn this way, there is water. Turn the other way, there is rock. What happens when you look straight ahead?” What Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictus have done is taken out their biggest box of creativity, shaken up the contents, and designed music that has trans-dimensional qualities. There is something that is peaceful and heartening about every track on Hemisperhica Portalis. There are boundless textures and endless colors in every tune. With just a touch of the imagination, you could travel for a very long time. You may not want to return. Highly recommended.

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synthspotting feature #105 Desensitized (Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis) ‘Hemispherica Portalis (Portal Of 1000 Years)’ on Spotted Peccary Music https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/…/hemispherica-porta…

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What synths/software did you use in ‘Convergence’?
——————————————————————
“Wow a time capsule trip! That project was done years ago in a galaxy far far away . . .”

“The recording platforms used at that time were older versions of Digital Performer and Pro Tools; also a Lexicon PCM70 and Lexicon 300.”

“Mark Rownd, one of the collaborating artists on the project, had a Roland S770 sampler and created some wonderful textures for some of the recordings; if memory serves, other synths used included a Roland D-50 and D-70, a U220 – loved the sounds in that little unit (sadly, I no longer have it).”

“There was also a Roland JV-880, JD-990, and the synth keyboard played to record the various midi tracks in each song was the Yamaha KX88, a full-size velocity sensitive weighted keyboard / controller.”

“What I recall of working on this project with my fellow artist collaborators Mark Rownd and Greg Klamt, was that we wanted an organic approach to the recordings as much as possible. We began the process with recording acoustic instruments; Taos Drums, various flutes and percussion, and guitar. These recorded tracks became the groundwork for adding the electronics, which we felt would provide a deeper sound experience by the combination of both acoustic and electronic elements.”
https://ambientelectronic.bandcamp.com/album/convergence
DM

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What is your current favourite hardware and/or software (if applicable) synth and why?
——————————————————————
“My current recording platform is Steinberg Cubase – I like its ease of use and the various ways of viewing tracks – it is fairly user friendly, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out how to work with a track. The software I am currently using is Spectrasonics Omnisphere – I like the sound library and the way you can easily locate sounds by how they are categorized.”

“Other gear I currently have in my studio is a Yamaha Motif synth / controller – there are some great sounds to work with, and I appreciate the weighted keys and velocity sensitive response – most of the compositions I record are played using this synth as I really like the feel of the keys.”

“I also am using Roland V-Synth GT – sometimes I’ll record directly from this synth instead of through the Motif, because the keys are “playful” – not weighted but instantly respond to touch and the sensitivity of the keys makes it fun to play.”

“Completing my electronics realm of gear in the studio is last, but certainly not least, the Roland Integra7 rack mount unit; it has several thousand sounds to choose from and is very easy to use; the quality of the sampled sounds is incredible – wonderful clarity.”
DM

——————————————————————
Tell us a bit about your production technique
——————————————————————
“Dean and I wanted to try something stylistically different in recording for our collaboration. Being very aware of the contrasts and variances in our approaches, we wanted to see what would happen when we combined our methods. The result was very fulfilling to both of us.”

“Dean was using Ableton Live and NATIVE INSTRUMENTS Reaktor; I was recording in Cubase using the Motif and / or the V-synth.”

“It became a rhythmic start and stop process. I would open a new song in Cubase, and begin playing various melodic themes, and Dean was crafting textures at the same time on his laptops. It was really an intuitive process, as we both actually started and stopped recording almost exactly at the same time for every song we worked on. That part was simultaneously uncanny yet amazing at the same time. Each time we finished performing Dean would transfer his created textures “stems” from his recordings onto a flash drive, which I then imported into separate audio tracks for each of the songs in Cubase.”

“We were really liking what we were hearing, so then we recorded additional tracks using acoustic instruments; I recorded Dean on flute and he recorded me on Taos drums and various percussion. These acoustic recordings were then blended into a few of the songs on the project.”
DM

——————————————————————
Tell us about your work
——————————————————————
“This was such a great project to work on – we had a lot of fun crafting the ideas and experiencing the creative surprises that came along as we worked on the compositions. Blending our distinct styles created a differing soundscape that we felt would be new, enriching and exciting for the listeners out there.”
DM

Artist’s comments to help describe the process:

Deborah:
“Dean’s years of sound sculpting expertise paid off in ways I can never fully explain; as soon as I began playing the melodic basic song structures, he was immediately adding textures and nuances that glued the passages into place. The creative result is a breathtaking display of original sound samplings, live recorded textural beds, and electronic elements melding into a profound ambient electronic revelation.”

Here is a comment from Dean:
“I knew the drastic contrast between our two approaches would likely yield something new,” explains Dean. “Deborah has a majestic and pristine melodic style, while I bring a textural and sometimes edgy experimental approach, using sounds I often create on the spot. I find the combination of our layers and approaches uniquely lush and personally refreshing.”

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About ‘Hemispherica Portalis (Portal Of 1000 Years) ‘ by Spotted Peccary Music
——————————————————————
For 24-Bit/96kHz Studio Master, please visit: https://spottedpeccary.com/shop/hemispherica-portalis/

“Hemispherica Portalis” is the debut collaboration album from the collective imagination of Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis. Performing under the moniker “Desensitized,” these two veteran ambient electronic sound explorers have joined forces to craft a thought-provoking work of art that combines ancient and futuristic moods into a captivating world of sound, filling the imagination with illusory images of undiscovered realms.

The abstract and alluring music that unfolds across the album’s seven tracks is in many ways just what one would expect when De Benedictis & Martin’s recognizable yet disparate styles are focused into a singular expression. “Hemispherica Portalis” acts as a jumping-off point for the duo’s “Desensitized” deep dive into a new form of texture-based sonic exploration

– one that merges vintage space-music tendencies with a modern electronic ambient style. Roiling in slow motion, Deborah’s signature sounds and digital synth expressions expand and contract as the occasional acoustic flourish or melodic moment briefly bubbles to the surface. Added to that are the nuanced layers of Dean’s remarkable laptop-based sound-sculpting approach and the resulting array of textural, experimental, and at times gritty elements that he expertly swirls into the mix. This blending of the two artist’s distinct sonic palettes and differing styles paints an appealing and cohesive soundscape that is lush, refreshing, and truly special.

“I knew the drastic contrast between our two approaches would likely yield something new,” explains Dean. “Deborah has a majestic and pristine melodic style, while I bring a textural and sometimes edgy experimental approach, using sounds I often create on the spot. I find the combination of our layers and approaches uniquely lush and personally refreshing.”

Deborah elaborates, “Dean’s years of sound sculpting expertise paid off in ways I can never fully explain; as soon as I began playing the melodic basic song structures, he was immediately adding textures and nuances that glued the passages into place. The creative result is a breathtaking display of original sound samplings, live recorded textural beds, and electronic elements melding into a profound ambient electronic revelation.”

Together as “Desensitized,” Deborah Martin & Dean De Benedictis summon a unique and expansive sound that is vivid, alive, colorful, and surreal, as the subtle dreamscapes of “Hemispherica Portalis” offer a sublime retreat into sonic beauty, where past and future echoes mingle, collide, and fuse into dreams, deeply alien…yet somehow familiar.

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Find out more about Desensitized:
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https://spottedpeccary.com/artists/desensitized/
www.deborahmartinmusic.com
www.surface10.com
www.deandebenedictis.com

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Desensitized: Hemispherica Portalis (Portal Of 1000 Years)

By Steve Mecca – Oct 22 2020

Hemispherica Portalis is the debut collaboration album from the collective imagination of Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis. Performing under the moniker “Desensitized”, these two veteran ambient electronic sound explorers have joined forces to craft a thought-provoking work of art that combines ancient and futuristic moods into a captivating world of sound, filling the imagination with illusory images of undiscovered realms. The abstract and alluring music that unfolds across the album’s seven tracks is in many ways just what one would expect when De Benedictis & Martin’s recognizable yet disparate styles are focused into a singular expression.

Martin’s long and early association with the Spotted Peccary label and her ability to integrate with similar artists in the soundscape genre position her well as the perfect partner for an album such as Hemispherica Portalis, while her extensive travel throughout Europe, Asia, and the North American continent brings a comprehensive understanding of the diversity of cultures and the historic threads that weave together connecting us all. The varied background and long list of music credentials makes Dean De Benedictis the ideal candidate and partner with Deborah Martin on this outing. Blending the familiar with the unexpected, Hemispherica Portalis not only takes you to some astoundingly exotic regions, but how you end up getting there is also an important part of the journey.

Forget everything you thought you knew about “New Age” music and begin again. While much in that generally maligned genre reeks of clichéd melodic content and easy listening/pseudo-classical bullshit, you’ll find none of that here. Yes, there is plenty of melodicism, but nothing you will find yourself involuntarily humming. It weaves in and around the atmospheres, the magical environments your ear produces in your mind’s eye. (The album cover by Daniel Pipitone is but a snapshot of a possibility of one of the realms explored here, but an accurate one.) You may even feel as though you’ve heard much of this before on an initial listening, but the deeper you delve, the more you will realize that you’re experiencing something in a way you’ve never actually heard before. Martin’s signature sounds and digital synth expressions expand and contract as the occasional acoustic flourish or melodic moment briefly bubbles to the surface. Added to that are the nuanced layers of De Benedictis’ remarkable laptop-based sound-sculpting approach and the resulting array of textural, experimental, and at times gritty elements that he expertly swirls into the mix. Together they create a wonderama of a dreamscape that just cannot be easily defined. The tracklist may provide some clues though.

Tracklist:
1 Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years) 06:59
2 Concunus Dracus (Dragon of the Heavens) 09:30
3 Formulata Oblivonos (A Complicated Tale) 09:15
4 Ecumenicus Orato (The Umbilical Center) 12:54
5 Saltis Nominus (Floating Seabeds) 11:38
6 Terminus Equitos (Redemption Seeker) 06:09
7 Amphibinatum (Myths and Legends) 09:05

And no, not everything is just drifty/floaty in the world of Desensitized. The rapid motion of “Terminus Equitos” for example, recalls Tangerine Dream’s Berlin School sequenced electronics. This is an album to be savored like a fine wine, full of nuance, with great balance, flavor, complexity, and just the right length on the finish.

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Texturo

Hemispherica Portalis offers a fascinating example of what happens when two artists boasting differing styles unite. It’s especially interesting in this case when one of the partners, Deborah Martin, brings such a long-standing association with Spotted Peccary to the project, the artist having made her inaugural appearance on the label in 1994. Hers has not been an hermetic undertaking, however, as collaborations with others have transpired along the way. Operating out of Southern California, Dean De Benedictis brings as deep a history to the endeavour, with music by the electronic musician extending back to 1996. The collaboration results in music that both aligns with expectations but surprises too. On the one hand, the kind of mystical evocations crafted so mesmerizingly by Martin merge with De Benedictis’s elaborate textural design in a way that one might expect; at the same time, the seven settings sound like nothing either might have created alone. What distinguishes the recording most, however, is its live dimension, the impression it engenders of material being born and sculpted in the moment rather than preprogrammed.

The cover imagery is likewise emblematic of the music’s character. Draped in mystical light and with multi-hued plant forms in abundance, an unidentified planet—maybe Earth, maybe not—teems with flora and fauna. That biological emphasis carries through to the music, which, generated using flute, percussion, synthesizers, and various softwares, feels perpetually alive. During the opening “Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years),” the seeming chime of a guitar and strum of a harp intersect with silken synth washes to suggest a natural realm peacefully subsisting since time immemorial. Emerging from misty haze, flutes swirl like gusting winds as analog and digital elements seamlessly blend.

A good illustration of the duo’s working methodology arises in “Concunus Dracus (Dragon of the Heavens)” when Martin’s melodic gestures invite textural responses from De Benedictis. Meandering, woodwind-like phrases drift across a thick mass of shimmer and percolations, the impression created of each melodic element assisting in the propagation of the sound world billowing around it. Throughout the recording, the music’s slow-motion flow encourages a kindred meditative response in the listener, with the subtle ebb and flow of the material strengthening the connection in mirroring the breathing rhythms of the human body.

However much some tinklings in “Formulata Oblivonos (A Complicated Tale)” might seem to flirt with New Age, gritty textures and a heavy plodding beat pattern ensure the piece retains a harder edge; “Terminus Equitos (Redemption Seeker)” similarly pulsates with insistent animation. In other places, the space ambient character that sometimes pervades the album is offset by an almost pastoral quality, evident, for example, during the peaceful opening minutes of “Ecumenicus Orato (The Umbilical Center)” and the harp-sprinkled “Amphibinatum (Myths and Legends).”

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