Exposé Online banner

Desensitized — Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years)
(Spotted Peccary SPM-9063, 2020, CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-11-02

Hemispherica Portalis (Portal of 1000 Years) Cover art

Who thought of that name, Desensitized? It almost sounds like when one loses their sense of hearing, smell and touch. But nothing could be further from the truth – one listen to Hemispherica Portalis and your senses will be alight like never before. For those familiar with the Spotted Peccary stable of artists, Desensitized is a new collaborative project between two of the label’s most revered artists who should need no introduction: Dean De Benedictis and Deborah Martin, the latter with close to a dozen recordings on the label (including several excellent collaborations), the former with somewhat less, though De Benedictis also records under the moniker Surface 10. Together, as composers, arrangers and ambient sonic explorers, Martin and De Benedictis are masterful sound painters that each bring their own elements to bear in the collaborative process. Both use synthesizers, electronics and software instruments, along with occasional acoustic elements like flutes, hand drums and percussion to bring their compositions to life. The opening title track (translated: “Portal of 1000 Years”) sets the stage beautifully during its seven minute duration, with shimmering earthy flutes and other mysterious sounds all treated in a wonderment of studio effects that pulls the listener into another world. It’s best to just appreciate the result for what it is, and not try and over-analyze the sound, but from my knowledge of both artsts previous recordings, I suspect that De Benedictis is responsible for much of the textural and explorative elements, while Martin is imparting the dreamy and colorful melodic patterns, both intertwining throughout the album’s seven long and immersive tracks. Most of the pieces are imbued with both very delicate and subtle edgy elements, as well as soft dreamy soundscapes, occasionally even carrying forward with a steady percussive beat. While any element might have the listener’s attention at any given point in time, there are always a multitude of ideas being committed to the many layers of sonic fabric, and the next time though one might hear it differently. The gentle approach is soothing, but this isn’t going to lull the listener to sleep because there is always something interesting happening to hold the listener’s attention.

Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Dean de Benedictis (Surface 10), Deborah Martin, Desensitized

More info

Latest news

New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Magicfolk - Magicfolk – Like the bright sun burning through the morning fog, Magicfolk come bearing tradition, vision, passion, and mysticism. On this, their debut, the seven-piece is blessed with the beautiful lead voice of...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues