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John Also Bennett

Music for Save Rooms 1 & 2 (2CD)

Label: Editions Basilic

Format: 2CD

Genre: Compositional

Preorder: due on/around March 8th


* Double CD set containing both albums - Music for Save Rooms 1 & Music for Save Rooms 2. First edition of 150 copies * John Also Bennett’s Music for Save Rooms 1 & 2 compiles two volumes of minimal music conceived as infinitely looping and morphing compositions for “save rooms” - temporary safe spaces within video game maps. The compositions primarily stem from a week spent at work in a former military barn in the Marin Headlands just north of San Francisco, spurred on by multimedia artist and Bennett’s frequent collaborator Peter Burr (for whom a handful of the pieces on these albums were initially composed). Consumed with the idea of music that could create an effortless sense of stasis, yet never exactly repeat itself, Bennett spent days alone in the remote, empty barn composing endless loops, experimenting with phasing techniques, and melding with the surrounding ambience. 

The groundwork was laid for over 11 compositions, a few of which at that time were finished. But in early 2020, faced with a pandemic-canceled tour and non-refundable plane tickets, Bennett digitally released a premature version of Music for Save Rooms containing two finished ‘Save Room’ pieces plus various unreleased odds and ends - a synthesized version of Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel im Spiegel”, “Still Inside the Deku Tree”, an alto flute piece and live staple referencing Koji Kondo’s classic score for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and “Utopia and Oblivion”, a work for a virtual just intonation piano & DX7. Bennett presents here a definitely mixed, mastered, and expanded version of Music for Save Rooms (now Music for Save Rooms 1), alongside Music for Save Rooms 2, a fully realized album of new music stemming directly from those original sessions in Marin County.

Composed almost exclusively for a Yamaha DX7, Roland D-50 and JV1080, Music for Save Rooms 2 differs from its predecessor - instead of a collection of disparate works centered around the theme of stasis, the album presents a more cohesive narrative, with shorter tracks relative to its predecessor’s more long-form pieces. Opener “Sky Music'' contains as much silence as it does sound - effortless chords float into view and then sizzle into nothingness. “Power Plant”’s glissando vocal pads and deep percussion hits seem to create a regenerative space, while “Out Back” and “Ambling'' both hint at some distant, foggily recollected liminal place. “Glass Castle” is perhaps more explicit with its imagery, combining the sounds of a glass harmonica and fragile vocal pads with alternatively gorgeous and dissonant piano motifs that utilize a tuning system developed by Iannis Xenakis. Boiled down over years to only its essential parts, Music for Save Rooms 2 is a tour through the mind’s eye of an artist searching for an elusive place, somewhere deep in the open world of our collective consciousness.

Double CD set mastered by Stephan Mathieu

Cat. number: n/a
Year: 2023