Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Desensitized — Chaos in Premonition
(Spotted Peccary SPM-9065, 2022, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-12-06
Around two years ago, Desensitized — the collaboration between electronic / ambient composers Deborah Martin and Dean De Benedictis — released their first recording, Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years), a powerful opening statement for these two who have been developing their sound individually and in other collaborations since the mid-90s. The follow-up release, Chaos in Premonition, inspired by the mysteries of the afterlife, has arrived, recorded live in the studio together, music composed by both. The instrumentation is comprised of hand drums, clay ocarinas, Tibetan bowls and other percussion, flutes, and of course plenty of analog and digital synthesizers and electronics. The thunderous percussives and curious blend of sounds that accompanies the melodic synth washes on the opener “Ionic Realms (Victronomy Plubonius)” will certainly set the stage for all of what follows. “Abundant Time” is introduced with something of a heartbeat while ribbons of synths and majestic color tangle effortlessly with what sounds like a a ticking clock; all of the acoustic and electronic sounds come to pull the listener through the mortal maze in preparation for the album’s title track, which blows in, gently enshrouded in melodic mystery, both quiet and introspective with curious electronic enhancements moving about in the foreground, often reminiscent of gamelantronic orchestrations. Curious sounds to hold the listener’s interest never seem to let up, regardless of whether the pace is floating, busy, or rhythmic. The drifting textures of “Deep Chasm (Subliminostrum)” carry the listener along for its near eleven minute journey, with shimmering scintillations reflecting throughout its long-form textural ascent. The sound that might recall a harmonium or perhaps an aeolian harp follows the listener through the somewhat blustery “Mutations of the Highest Order,” at times presenting something reminiscent of an angelic choir over percussive sounds that mimic the natural world, while further explorations of percussion and voice samples are discovered further in “Logic of Expression (Praetoreum).” The introspective flutes that open “Immortals and Their Graves” quickly get lost under a cloud of sonic mystery, though remain at hand throughout the piece as it proceeds. Muted humming voices appear in the album’s closer “Sleep of Innocence,” a magical dreamscape that sums the program up nicely. Chaos in Premonition offers a bold and uniquely original parcel of forward-reaching ambient electronic sound.
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