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from AmbiEntrance 10-11/2001 upload
written by David Opdyke

Dean Santomieri - The Boy Beneath the Sea (The Foundry - 2001)

Another release (of several christening a convergence of the Foundry and Hypnos) probes into territories unusual for either of these sources for eclectic-listening.

Upon an ominously flowing soundtrack, Dean Santomieri intones a spoken-word parable which tells the tale of The Boy Beneath The Sea.

Washing in on low guitar strums and shapeless electronic drifts over which haunted wails seem to distantly soar, the first (of eight) unnamed sections sets the scene for Santomieri's cleanly modulated speech. Evocative expressions, an easy delivery style and surreal storyline keep the presentation at a pleasant-to-listen-to level, even for this non-fan of narration.

I won't enter into the boys' subaquatic Alice-like adventures, other than to add that the story is dark, well-written and unpredictable. But, to be honest, most often I find myself straining to hear the spooky background themes, generally wishing they were more visible to the ear. Under Santomieri's direction (and hydrodynamics), these background improvisations are performed by Bruce Anderson (moody chromotone guitar), David Kwan (deformative sampling, processing, tidal control) and Karen Stackpole (never-straightforward percussion and gongs).

Dean Santomieri's twisted fairy tale is a departure, but a recommended one; while not everyday material, The Boy Beneath The Sea provides a decidedly different aural experience. Despite a minor aversion to this sort of thing, I must give credit where it's certainly due, an 8.3 for this impressively arranged though more-wordy-than-usual recording.

Available from either/or the Foundry and Hypnos.

This review posted November 4, 2001 AmbiEntrance 2001-1997 by David J Opdyke