Dentist: Cuts
Auraltone Music

Any listener pining for new music from Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project need look no further than the first official release from Washington D.C.'s Lou DiBenedetto under the Denist moniker (great name, by the way). Inspired by the Gas recordings, DiBenedetto began recording ambient drones as Dentist in 2007 primarily for his own listening pleasure, it being material he could play while working at his day job and touring the city, but over time gradually warmed to the idea of sharing the results with friends and so posted his tracks online. The batch collected on Cuts was recorded between October 2010 and February 2011, and is the product of a difficult period during which DiBenedetto wrestled with the demons of depression—a possible explanation for why the material itself is of a particularly brooding nature.

Setting the stage, “Skies” slowly blossoms with reverberant wave upon wave of what sound like muffled horns and strings. DiBenedetto shapes the material so that it grows ever denser and more intense as the seconds tick by, until by track's end the sounds have swelled to near-cacophanous levels as the tones dissonantly collide with one another. “Freezer” presents eight droning minutes of submersive rumble and haze, “Valve” eleven minutes of electrical whooshes and synthetic fire, with its synth tendrils etching dub-like trails across the sky. Whereas “Columns” pitches a robust and smeary organ drone at a crushingly loud volume, the closing track, “Stacks,” allows its synthetic swirls to peer above the dark clouds that dominate elsewhere, thereby allowing the listener to exit the album in a relatively uplifting frame of mind. No information is given about the instrumentation used, though one suspects samples, synthesizers, and electronics figure in varying degrees into the heavily treated stew. Certainly some of Cuts could pass for Gas, one obvious difference being the absence of kick drums in Dentist's tracks. His are purely beat-free, ambient-drone settings that are more conducive to meditative drift than anything involving head-nod.

May 2011