Wednesday 5 March 2014

Rich Bennett - DiBenedetto

EP review by

Although from Brooklyn, the name of this EP from Rich Bennett may give a clue as to his Italian heritage. His past music has been inventive and unusual, and probably takes some inspiration from Brian Eno with his themes; especially as he released a mini album called 'Music For Underwater Supermarkets'. Quite where the idea came from is tough to imagine! Bennett has often taken inspiration from simple things around him though, and applied his own unique take on the subjects. Although an accomplished guitarist, the past few years have seen him move away from the instrument he was once so attached to, becoming involved in shoegaze and dreampop bands using heavy effects and getting himself familiar with synths. Given this career deviation, 'DiBenedetto' can be seen as a return to where he began; carrying on where he left off on his adventures into sound and now coming back to the guitar-scapes that he made his name with.

These five songs area ambient, but not in a drawn-out or dull way; they're inventive and at time playful, making use of not just guitar, but an array of different sound textures, and they're entirely instrumental. There's a certain cinematic quality to 'Il Grande Silenzio' that would be perfect for a Western movie, (so it's no surprise to find it's an Ennio Morricone cover) and given past form, these kinds of atmospheric numbers are very much in Bennett's DNA, so he shouldn't be surprised if directors come knocking. The bubbly 'Lee's Summit' is perhaps influenced by his time with dreampop, although it also has something of a French feel somehow. These aren't songs that jump up and down and shout in your face, these are songs that quietly get on with doing what they do, leaving you with the option to dip in and out as you please. This seems by design though. Both the relaxing 'Narcissus' and the drifting 'Cianciana' wouldn't sound out of place on a chill-out album, and we're talking mood music, not post-club comedown. Whether this is a good thing will be entirely subjective, but he does it well. Final track 'Oss' is the most subtle of all, but it does have more character and makes for a fitting ending. Does this piano-led track indicate another potential new direction though? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Rich Bennett's website

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