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New Album - Accident At Clear Lake

Before we get into the album release, first:

BIG THANKS to all those who showed up at our performance and CD release party last Tuesday at the E Spot Lounge! We relish your constant support and attendance, and it was beautiful seeing your faces. Somehow that night we managed to even draw the rare like of our friends Scott Kinsey and Jon Von Seggern (Stratos-related artist who leads the band Simplexity and plays with Jon Hassel), so it was a somewhat flattering night for turnout. And people really seemed to love the set. Many people stated that they had never heard anything like it before, even in light of Dean's regularly scheduled, sensitive-artist apologies for his own playing (haha). But he still presented everything with good wit and humor, and we are working on him regarding his talent for modesty. It was a successful night and we all enjoyed ourselves. We hope to bring more live work to you after we take a little break to learn some pre-arranged/composed material.

That's right, you heard correctly. The Stratos Ensemble will be going in a somewhat more composed direction very soon, which will be a first after the 30 some-odd years that Dean has been experimenting with this particular style of improvisation. More on that later. In the meantime, stay posted for audio excerpts and entire pieces from last night's concert, posted online soon, as well as a music video or two from it before long. The musicians that night were: Coco Roussel - drums, Dave Boswell - guitar, Jim Goetsch - sax and effects, Dean De Benedictis - piano, keys and programming, Frescia Belmar - bass, B1 (Brian) - spoken word.



Yes, as of yesterday, our first album in almost 10 years has been released. This particular album focuses on musical prowess and explosive energy more than our usual work does, yet at the same time, it still holds a lot of our sentiment and incorporation of ambient-experimental-electronic approaches. It is also still %98 improvised, aside from pre-arranged electronic sequences that we play over. You will hear what we mean when listening. The album also features a previous line-up of musicians, including bassist Doug Lunn, who sadly passed away a couple of weeks ago. Both the album and last night's performance were dedicated to Doug.

Some of the liner notes on the album read as follows:

Clear Lake is the name of the studio where the music for Accident At Clear Lake was performed and recorded in early 2016. This session was intended to provide more material for a Stratos Ensemble album that would compile their best moments over the previous 4 years. After hearing the session back, the band decided that all of the material recorded that day would be good enough as an album of it's own. Thus, it was an accident of sorts. This, coupled with the fact that portions of the music sound as though they could pass for soundtracks to a variety of plausible catastrophic accident scenes, both on screen and off, led to the title.

Musicians heard on this album:

Daniel Coffeng - guitar and guitar synth

Doug Lunn - bass

Brock Avery - drums

Dean De Benedictis - piano, keyboards, programming and production

Take a listen to the album and see what we are attempting to describe. It is currently available on Bandcamp, and it will soon be made available everywhere else online as well. On Bandcamp, the album is enabled for 8 listens only, so be sure to use them wisely, and take it in well.

The album artwork is by the brilliant Claire Raymond, who's further work and services can be found here:

Last thanks:

to Marcin Majkowski again for use of his images during promotion of the Stratos E Spot gig. We believe he's an under-rated photographer in Europe. And lastly on the subject of overlooked artists, bring it back to LA for a final hat tip to DJ Roarkyd and his downtempo set just before our live set on Tuesday. He guided our mood in the right direction and he always brings something amazing to the environment. Be sure to look these guys up online.

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