A Holliday Gift and Letter To Fans from Founder Dean De Benedictis
Recording artist and Stratos founder Dean De Benedictis here. This is just a little letter to you personally, for anyone interested, and a sort of update as well.
I’d like to call upon your patience and understanding, if I may, and ask that you please excuse the extremely long delays in our Stratos gigging and content, especially this year. I do so much production and marketing for the band that without me around, there is a somewhat helpless faction remaining. So, I’m trying to close that gap as best as I can, while still maintaining progress on other artistic obligations that are irreversible.
Some may already know that I was a solo recording artist of electronic music many years before starting the Stratos Ensemble, and I’m still pretty ensconced and active in that field as a producer (even though I’m happy to report that the ensemble really does hold most of my musical passion now). The Stratos Ensemble is based in LA, but my main record label for my solo electronic music is located in Portland, OR. I’ve owed them a follow-up album to our trilogy series for a few years now, which I had put aside to focus on Stratos matters. Well, this year, that record company made it very clear that I could not hold off on my obligation to them any longer without inconveniencing their release schedule noticeably. So, I had to turn the table on my priorities, suddenly putting them up front for more than half of the year.
The first half of my year was actually spent trying to finish reaching the summit of Mt. Hood, so I could be the first one to officially make electronic music at the top. This is a goal and film project I’ve actually been attempting for the last 9 years, juggling it with the band. And yes, I finally made it to the top of Hood this year, and officially performed electronic music at the top. That much was a triumph. However, once my record label caught wind that I was in Portland, they practically insisted that I come into their studios and continue work on the album until it was done, understandably.
I’ve been hard at work on that, and truth be told, it’s still not quite done yet, but it’s very close now. I’ve actually been experiencing some rather large ongoing obstacles regarding production and all things artistic this year, which in some ways is actually par for the course when it comes to this crazy mountain and travel project of mine. I’m no stranger to big complications, but this year those complications did effect all of my projects. Of course, this letter and info I’m giving you is obviously somewhat arbitrary, but still, I thought you all deserved an explanation, regardless. Those of you who have remained supportive have been valuable to us enough that you are worth any efforts to reach you and establish understanding that we may show. You are all a part of the Stratos family in some way, as far as we’re concerned.
So, just as happily, I would like to report that I have already made preparations to aggressively continue our official Stratos Ensemble content and hopefully public performances as well, shortly after the turn of the new year. I’m already getting excited at the prospect of these approaching activities, so whether or not they are overwhelmingly abundant, you can still count on them happening in the new year one way or another.
In the meantime, and equally as enthusiastically, we would like to offer you this gift, aptly styled for the holidays and the winter season (below). It is a Stratos Duo set of piano-based ambient music, bitter-sweet and minimal, performed by myself and drummer Coco Roussel a little ways back. Originally, we were not going to release this music, or even let the public hear it at all, being as there are a few spots where the sound quality kind of suffers and we were also not that ecstatic about our performance in other spots. But after growing with the recording, and various listens, we have decided that this piece is easily good enough to serve as a private gift to fans during the holidays. So yes, here is our set of music, exclusively for you and any Stratos fan who ends up with this same private link. The player at this link is both playable and downloadable; the choice is yours because it’s Soundcloud. You are of course welcome to share this music if you want to, but online, the link will remain set to private for quite a while, if not permanently. Enjoy it. It definitely sets a mood at this time of year when played in the background—or foreground. Just click the images.