This Southern California-based artist has amassed credits and an international fan base not only as a producer, performing artist and musician (known to the electronic music community as Surface 10), but also as a visual and conceptual artist. Specializing in music, Dean has always utilized a broad spectrum of styles and cultural influences to enrich the quality of his expression.
His body of work aims to locate an essential thread between outwardly opposing music genres, as well as draw from each a natural sense of emotion, expanse and mystery. Beginning his exploration of music in the 80's, Dean developed a thorough body of musical experience, running the gamut of participation in jazz fusion bands, progressive rock bands, music theory (tutelage by his father Richard De Benedictis, a prolific and commercially recognized musician in his own right), and producing/performing source music for network television over 12 years of his career.
Like other artists, much of Dean’s music is composed as a dedication to, and a utility for, his own life experiences. Many of Dean's pieces were created, in part, to carry with him and listen to at specific locations, such as deserts, canyons, jungles, mountain regions, coastal regions, and unpopulated areas--thus permanently marking region with music in his memory. Now, due to present-day technology, Dean actually brings much of his music studio - being his laptop - with him to these same areas, and creates his pieces right there on location. He dedicates his works to people, places and events, aspiring to communicate a similar functionality within the personal narratives of his audience.
A brief release history:
In 1996, Dean De Benedictis released his debut ambient/electronic music CD on Hypnotic/Cleopatra Records, which was self-titled under the alias SURFACE 10. Following that was Dean's collaberation project with George Sara (of THC) called Cathexis, releasing the CD Exempli Gratia, in 1997 (also on Hypnotic/Cleopatra), a gift to the techno trance world. Just after these initial releases, Dean appeared on various compilations, and in various genres, for labels like Hypnos, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Cleopatra. In the new millennium, 2000, Dean put out a Surface 10 CD that was a technologically edgy/progressive/IDM-style CD called In Vitro Tide, on DiN Records, shortly followed by his tribal ambient CD release A Lone Reply debuted under his own name, on Fateless in 2001. Dean then formed the Fateless Flows Collective and appeared on their compilations from 2004 to 2007.
In 2004 the Surface 10 CD Borrowed Time 2000 was made available by Space For Music Records as a compilation of previously unreleased Surface 10 material, and in 2005 Spotted Peccary Records put out Dean's previously unreleased mix of all ambient works, called Salvaging The Past. Soon after that, in 2006, a more-mellow Surface 10, IDM CD called Surface Tensions was released once again on DiN records. In 2007, Dean then produced and released a CD called Drawn Straws, by his space-jazz-rock band The Strato Ensemble, which was the first official release on his Fateless label since the time of "A Lone Reply." Dean then released another CD on Fateless, this time under his own name, entitled A Cambient Variations, an adventurous ambient concept CD that he considered a release date spanning 2008-2009.
CD RELEASES AND THEIR ACCOMPANYING LITERATURE
A Lone Reply
For Dean De Benedictis, known to the electronic music world as Surface 10, A Lone Reply was a stylistic turn, yet not unfamiliar territory. After expanding his proverbial, musical horizon during his early travels, connecting with the land and native people of the North American West, Dean was moved to pay a solitary homage to these discoveries by creating a full-length CD of tribal-style ambient music.
Such instruments as cedar and Mayan-style flutes, ocarina, Balinese flutes, piano, synth, hand drums, slit drums, and Dean's voice can be heard throughout A Lone Reply, ninety percent of which was played by hand. Some of these instruments were actually accumulated during Dean's travels through the American West, and abroad.
Field recordings and various samples were also utilized to create slowly evolving layers of sound, merging into a deep, blissful, chasm-like sound setting. Dean states, "In a time of overwhelming technological advancement, this is simply a lone reply to it all; one with deep serenity, and perhaps subtle lament."
Like other artists, much of Dean's music is composed as a dedication to, and a utility for, his own life experiences, but for him it's more of a cinematic presence than the usual recreational connotation. Many of Dean's pieces were created in part to carry with him and listen to at specific locations, such as deserts, canyons, jungles, mountain regions, coastal regions, and unpopulated areas--thus permanently marking region-with-music in his memory. And while people, places and events have inspired this music, Dean has subtly attempted to insinuate a similar listening functionality within the personal narratives of his audience.
However, more towards the direction of both aspirations, and due to the mobile-technology revolution, Dean now actually creates his music while immersed in these scenarios. He brings much of his music studio - being his laptop - with him to these same areas, and creates his pieces right there on location. These projects are called, "Travels Rendered" and "The Summit Music Project." (Read on for more...)
Travels Rendered and The Summit Music Project are music-and-documentary travel projects that Dean De Benedictis has been pursuing since 2009. It involves traveling through areas of the United States, primarily the west, and making music on his laptop at chosen locations. This is similar to how painters brought canvases to equivalent locations, and then painted renditions. Both journeys will culminate on four well-known volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest, at the top of which Dean will compose and record his final music. To read the blog for these projects, and all of their entries, visit: http://summitmusicproject.blogspot.com/
Dean De Benedictis: "Salvaging the past"
(a.k.a. SURFACE 10), has envisioned a vital work of instrumental compositions, exploring the art of electronic music with a refreshing integrity. Blending traditional electronic tones and structures with acoustic elements, he has sculpted an album that is raw and direct. In essence, he has captured a heart of true electronic music, while suggesting more thought-provoking themes. De Benedictis realizes this vision through various electronic tonalities, samples, and acoustic instruments such as mayahachi flute, bamboo flutes, cello, piano, voice, guitars, hand drums, and percussion - applying all, with the passion and inspiration of the masters before him. Salvaging the Past is not only an homage to the electronic music of the past, but expands the vocabulary of the present. -Howard Givens, Spotted Peccary Records.
All music on Salvaging The Past was composed, performed, recorded, and produced by Dean De Benedictis between 1992 and 2005.
To the listener:
Our physical realm is comprised of drastically separate entities mix-matching and ambiguously aligning into one harmonious collage; such was the underlying principal behind my CD Salvaging The Past. I suppose this is also a philosophy I've based more then one project on. Regarding this project, a large multitude of my unreleased music had accumulated through the years, inspired by a variety of "traditional" ambient music sub-genres. Eventually I was drawn to compile and release the best of this work, focusing primarily on music created around the period of my self-titled Surface 10 CD in 96.
From this huge reservoir of material came bothBorrowed Time 2000, the Surface 10 CD on Space For Music Records, and Salvaging The Past, a slightly more crafted CD under my real name. It was obvious to me that this music had hints of icons like Mark Isham, Tangerine Dream, Ian Boddy, Manuel Gottsching, Robert Rich, R. Carlos Nakai, Klaus Schulze, Michael Stearns, and Patrick O'Hearn, so I gave them all credit for having had that influence on me.
With some songs containing an intense electronic base and others a pure acoustic base, creating the mood for Salvaging The Pastwas tricky, but I do hope that the music brings you your desired effect, being as we put it together as appropriately as it could be done. It is all from the same soul. - Dean De Benedictis.
"Salvaging the Past' is a powerfully organic and original album which reaches the inner soul. This release features unique spacemusic, tribal ambient, and dark soundscapes all of the highest caliber and has earned a permanent spot on my island picks list. Easily among the best EM releases of 2006/2006 - Jesse Sola / Numina".
Living in the present can be an over-rated, and sometimes overused philosophical approach, just like living in the past can be. But one's past does not deserve to be abandoned any more then one's present or one's future does. Always living in the present would mean that nothing could ever really be held sacred, for how truly sacred can something be unless it is reflected upon? Strife and fulfillment, sorrow and happiness, the whole sanctity of lifes' experience is there when looked back on, and this in turn becomes a comforting metaphor for the sanctity yet to come. The present moment covets the beauty of 'experience', the future covets the beauty of 'imagination', and the past covets the beauty of 'home'.
The present may be how we travel, and the future may be where we are traveling to, but we need not be homeless by losing sight of how and where we came from. Our original quests, our original equations, our history and our heritage, are all responsible for bringing us this moment. Thanks to the past, we are now beings in the present. It almost becomes our responsibility to return the gesture by occasionally reincarnating, re-applying, re-confirming, re-defining, resurrecting, completing, and honoring our past experiences, like any growing, rising tree would by spreading it's own roots under the ground. In this way, the balance is given and life has dimension: past, present, and future, like one flowing river.
To hear audio, buy a copy and/or find a store near you that carries "Salvaging The Past":
A freak of nature, a freak of technology, a freak of industry, a freak of ecology, regret and opportunity, continuing in conflict, they remain separate, and the children remain orphaned... Salvage the past, thus the present, thus the future
A Cambient Variations
Aside from some effects and sound-enhancement tools, all of the instrumentation for "A Cambient Variations" was created by a single human voice, Dean De Benedictis's. Others have now begun using this technique - the vocal mimicking of instruments to create a unique, instrumental sound - but because this particular project is unquestionably a form of ambient music (or "mood music"), the artist would like to acknowledge Bobby McFerrin as a direct influence. Select Hip Hop artists throughout the 80's, responsible for implementing the basis for this method, were also a significant influence.
(A Cam-bi-ent = a cappella ambient music)
To hear or buy a copy, visit the CDBaby page, or ITunes page, or Amazon page.
Artist: Dean De Benedictis
Album: A Cambient Variations
18 October 2008
Label: Fateless Music
A Cambient Variations - Dean De Benedictis:
Dean De Benedictis has found his voice, and on A Cambient Variations (75'15") uses it on every track. Utilizing a variety of processing techniques, human vocal sound is layered into chords, shifted into choirs, looped into rhythms and stretched into unrecognizable textures. Obstruents become percussion riffs, grunts and groans make bass grooves and rhythm accents, while ethereal "oohs" and breathy "aahs" are transformed into a mysterious resonating atmosphere.
Squeaks mutate into roars and whispered words resound under a cavernous echo as De Benedictis, using editing software, transforms elemental vocalizations into his singular digital soundscapes. A Cambient Variations transcends Ambient Music. With its unique character and original concept, the nine tracks each head out into uncharted experimental realms - each telling a different story. Taken all together the artist is revealed in his music.
Chuck van Zyl / STAR'S END 23 October 2008
The annual, outdoor, live, Los Angeles electronic music event.
In the early 80's, a Los Angeles fm radio DJ began an electronic-music radio program that still airs to this day. Recording artist Dean De Benedictis (aka Surface 10) had grown a devout fan of this show from early in his life. Eventually, and innevitably, Dean and Pat met, melding minds about a variety of project ideas, one of which involved an intimate electronic music concert held in a mountainous and/or desert setting.
Their vision finally came into fruition when the first Cyberstock was held in the summer of 1992 atop the Santa Monica Mountains of Malibu. Since that time, Cyberstock has passed through a number of Santa Monica Mountain locations, including even the Campus of Loyola Marymount University; and as an event, Cyberstock has evolved and grown artistically, while still maintaining a vital intimacy with the surrounding natural environment.
TRAVELS RENDERED AND THE SUMMIT MUSIC PROJECT
Like other artists, much of De Benedictis' solo music is a reaction to his experiences and surroundings. Throughout his life and career, many of his pieces were created, in part, to carry with him and listen to at specific locations — land marks, cities, deserts, canyons, jungles, mountains, and coastal areas — thus permanently marking the region or place with music in his memory. Regarding Dean's project Travels Rendered: due to the acquisition of a second music studio in 2008, in the form of a laptop, Dean now visits these same areas and creates his pieces there, on location. Occasionally he will even produce and/or improvise collaborative pieces, on location, with the musicians whom he meets there and along the way. In turn, he dedicates such works to the people, places and events that contributed to them. In regards to Dean's project The Summit Music Project: Dean even takes this concept to the point where he aspires to climb mountains that are thousands of feet up, and create full music productions at the summit.
To read more about The Summit Music Project or Travels Rendered, visit the extremely long and comprehensive blog at: http://summitmusicproject.blogspot.com/
Dean De Benedictis & Surface 10's Discography Of Official Releases Leading Up To 2009 (Google Any Item)
Full-length CD releases as Dean De Benedictis:
- A Lone Reply (Fateless, 2001)
- Salvaging The Past (Spotted Pecarry, 2005)
- Techno, Trip Hop, Ambient - production sampler (British Audio, 2002)
- A Cambient Variations (Fateless 2008-2009)
Compilations featuring Dean De Benedictis:
- Weightless Effortless (Hypnos, 1999)
- Sounscape Gallery - Volume 3 (Lektronic Soundscapes, 1999)
- Tangerine Ambience - A tribute to Tangerine Dream (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1996) (and one track as alias Intermaze)
- A TributeTo The Music And Works Of Brian Eno (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
Full-length CD releases as Surface 10:
- Surface 10 - self titled (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1996)
- In Vitro Tide (DiN, 2000)
- Borrowed Time 2000 (Space For Music, 2004)
- Surface Tensions (DiN, 2006)
Compilations featuring Surface 10 (or Surface 10 Activity):
- Space Box (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1996)
- Ambient Time Travellers (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1996)
- Tangerine Ambience - A tribute to Tangerine Dream (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1996)
- A TributeTo The Music And Works Of Brian Eno (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
- Earth Ritual (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
- Hypnotic Illusions (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
- Ultimate Drum 'N' Bass (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
- Trancespotting (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
- Kraftwelt Deranged In Space (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1996)
- Saterday Night Fetish (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
- The Carnival Within - A tribute to Dead Can Dance (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997)
- Loraine - A KUCI 88.9 benifit compilation (Peach, 1998)
- DiN 10 - sampler (DiN, 2001)
- Novabeats Sound System - Volume 1 (Novabeats, 2004)
- Fateless Flows Collective - Volume 1 (Fateless Flows, 2004)
- You Wish You Heard It Yesterday - Volume 3 (Android Folk, 2005)
- Fateless Flows Collective - Volume 2 "Shadowmath" (Fateless Flows, 2005)
- Fateless Flows Collective - Volume 3 "Undergrounded" (Fateless Flows, 2006)
- DiN Sampler (DiN 2008)
- ...and a few free compilations that are floating around out there for such companies as Igloo Magazine and Architects & Heroes.
Full-length CD collaberations (as other aliases):
- Cathexis - "Exempli Gratia" (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997) with Dean De Benedictis and George Sara
- Enterphase - "Solar Prominade" (A.D. 2004) with Jeff Filbert, Fred Becker, Dean De Benedictis
- The Strato Ensemble - "Drawn Straws" (Fateless, 2007)
Compilations and other releases featuring single track collaberations (as other aliases):
- Hypnotic Sounds (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997) as alias Cathexis
- Sci Fi Cafe (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997) as alias Cathexis
- Saterday Night Fetish (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997) as alias Cathexis
- Schizoid Dimension - A tribute to King Crimson (Hypnotic/Cleopatra, 1997) as alias Xcranium
- DJ Snow "Space Lounge E.P." (Bottom Heavy, 1998) as alias Surface 10
- George Sara "Opus Eleven" (Beautiful Is As Beautiful Does, 2001) as Dean De Benedictis
- Fateless Flows Volume 2 "Shadowmath" (Fateless Flows, 2005) with Dream Electric