Deru aka Benjamin Wynn is an Emmy Award winning American composer and music producer.
Deru’s last record, 1979, dealt with individual human emotions. His new project, Torn In Two, zooms out and deals with human existence as a whole. It finds feelings of frustration, dissociation and anger, but from a high vantage that affords perspective and allows the project to include acceptance, beauty and tranquility.
The music lives in evolving landscapes of violence and beauty, with compositions that shape-shift, flutter, and decimate one's sense of time and place. The album is a collection of microtonal pieces where the pitches were derived from acoustic instruments, and processed woodwind and brass recordings. Both represented new directions for Wynn, and the results are pieces that are more dynamic and full-spectrum than his previous body of work. They explode into walls of distortion and recede into quiet acoustics.
“I developed new ways of working that were laborious and rewarding. The microtonality opened up new worlds of sound and emotion, worlds that resonate both personally and globally,” Wynn describes.
Torn In Two includes a series of accompanying films that magnify the project’s themes, with effigies that absorb and reflect the human condition. They burn, they bleed, they hold their young, they get swallowed by the waves. Humans are absent. The world independent of us, without us.
The project is set for release on October 19th via Friends of Friends (Anenon, Shlohmo, Perera Elsewhere). The films are directed and editing by Wynn himself, in collaboration with Bryan Konietzko, the animator and director best known for Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, who provided the concept, art direction and digital sculpting. Longtime collaborator EFFIXX provided visual effects, 3D rendering, and artwork design. Tim Navis supplied the tintype photographic plates used as backdrops and cover art, and Daniel James Lorraine, who has worked on projects with the likes of Jeff Koons, Charles Ray, and Claes Oldenburg, handled fabrication.
Deru’s score for Impulse, Doug Liman’s YouTube Premium show, was released in 2018 on Lakeshore Records. Additionally, Deru collaborated with British composer Joby Talbot to score Wayne McGregor’s ballet, Genus, which was based on Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. Commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet, the ambitious eight-part score combines electronics with a 10-part choir and string quartet, and was featured in the documentary, La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet.
Wynn is also a founding member and Creative Director of The Echo Society, a Los Angeles based composer collective and non-profit organization that premiers new orchestral works in singular, one-night-only events. Past guests have included Amon Tobin, Mica Levi, The Haxan Cloak, Moses Sumney, Chelsea Wolfe, and Jonsi, among many others.
Torn In Two is a stunning multi-media statement from a unique voice in the post-classical, ambient world.