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.
The visionary lyricist…
…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?
Written by Robin James, September 22nd, 2020