In Vitro Tide

Surface 10

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In Vitro Tide Review

by Stewart Mason

Recorded and remixed in bits and pieces over a four-year period, the second album by Dean de Benedictus under the project name Surface 10 mixes influences from the prog rock side of ambient electronica (it's not a stretch to imagine the last track, "Defrag Harvest Nocturn (DHN)," on a Tangerine Dream or Orb album) with the challenging experimentalism of the best IDM. These tracks are built on complex, cacophonous samples, most often processed into unrecognizable forms and shaped into sound collages like the noisy, spiky, opening track "This Will Sting." Yet even at its most aggressively experimental, In Vitro Tide is never merely harsh or noisy; there's real beauty in songs like the gently throbbing "Littt," or the spooky but engrossing "It Utters In Stealth," and at times, de Benedictus slips into genuinely funky beats as in the outstanding "Service 10 Rendered," which mixes Art of Noise-style basslines with a wild tape collage breakdown section and liberal found-sound voice samples. In Vitro Tide is intriguing, often outstanding stuff.

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