It is rare for artists to sign exclusive deals off of one demo, but that is the genesis of the Bensley story. He sent a demo to RAM Records and they loved it so much they had to have him at just 19. Fast-forward five years and he has released two albums, the second Muskoka, came out on Friday. The album expands on his musical universe and finds a way to jettison many standard expectations for drum and bass by sticking a saxophone in some of the most unexpected places.
With the album out now, we decided to get into some of the influences that helped create this album from deadmau5 to Gesaffelstein and Camo & Krooked. Read on to see how the project really came together.
Bensley’s album Muskoka is out now on RAM Records. Stream it below or pick up a copy here.
1. Blade Runner OST - 2049
A brilliant tribute to the original film's score by Vangelis, this soundtrack pushed me in the direction of long, cinematic sequences that are heard occasionally on my new album. This inspiration is most noticeable in the two-part journey "In Darkness" and the album's closing tune "Trillium."
2. Gesaffelstein – Pursuit
The recent boom in this industrial breed of techno inspired "Radio Statica," the opening track on my album. However, I made the style my own by exchanging the single-note aggressive basslines for an arrangement that highlights melodic content. I was also able to bring more intricacies into the mix by taking advantage of the extra space that this style's slower tempo affords.
3. Unlike Pluto & KickRaux – Palace
This tune raised the bar for musical and technical standards in my own music. It's fascinating sonically and caused me to start automating reverb settings as a way of creating unique atmospheres.
4. Camo & Krooked – Passion
These guys always nail the light triplet groove in their Drum & Bass tunes! For my album I had to explore this avenue with "Arpeggio Deluxe."
5. Dear Rouge - Black To Gold
Listening to local radio has caused electro/indie-pop influences to creep into my music over time, and this was one of the ones that hit me hardest. You can hear the aforementioned influence on my album in "Secrets" ft. Sarah Carmosino.
6. deadmau5 – HR 8938 Cephei
Because of tunes like this, I got into electronic music with a real appreciation for well thought-out intros and outros - ones that create a real arc and progression to the track. This is something that I feel is often lacking in the Drum & Bass world and should be encouraged!
7. The Upbeats - Alone ft. Tasha Baxter
This tune achieves levels of beauty in melancholy that's rarely heard in the context of Drum & Bass.
8. Culture Shock - Bunker
I have always admired Culture Shock's unique take on rhythms in Drum & Bass and "Bunker" is a perfect showcase for this quality. Since hearing this, I've put a lot more effort towards the percussion details within my music.