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Using the pseudonym Deru, American composer, music producer, and sound designer Benjamin Wynn creates cinematic and highly textured experimental electronic music. While Wynn's many works under his own name make up a significant part of his canon, some of his Deru highlights include the music for the 2007 ballet Genus, beat-driven albums like 2010's Say Goodbye to Useless, and his 2018 original score for the YouTube sci-fi series Impulse. His 2022 album We Will Live On was created using a Disklavier piano. Following a degree in music technology from the California Institute of the Arts, the Chicago native made his Deru debut with the experimental electronic album Pushing Air in 2003 via the Neo Ouija label. Trying to Remember followed on Merck Records in 2004, the same year Wynn and composer Jeremy Zuckerman co-founded the Emmy-winning music and sound design partnership the Track Team. The pair went on to contribute to the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008), Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011-2016), and The Legend of Korra (2012-2014). In the meantime, under the Deru moniker, Wynn collaborated with British composer Joby Talbot on music for the 2007 ballet Genus. Based on Darwin's On the Origin of the Species, the ballet was commissioned by the Paris Opera Ballet. A recording of their ballet music arrived on Ant-Zen and Dear Oh Dear Records in 2009. Back with Zuckerman, Wynn also co-composed the score for the film Just Peck, released that same year. The Deru album Say Goodbye to Useless followed on Mush Records in 2010. In October of 2011, Wynn traveled to Iceland with a group of filmmakers and photographers, resulting in the film Outliers, Vol. 1: Iceland. Its score was grounded in Wynn's field recordings from the trip. A soundtrack including Wynn's score and songs by artists including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Son Lux, and Shigeto was released in the summer of 2012. Wynn and Zuckerman then teamed up again for the film A Leading Man in 2013. Inspired by a flea market box of personal artifacts, Deru's 1979 was released by Friends of Friends in June of 2014, accompanied by nine short films by filmmaker Anthony Ciannamea. 1979: Remixed followed in 2016, and Genus had its North American premiere by the National Ballet of Canada in March 2017. Two months later, Deru released Territories, his debut on the audiovisual label 79Ancestors, co-founded by Wynn, Ciannamea, and software designer Yaniv De Ridder. His score for the YouTube sci-fi series Impulse was released in July 2018, followed in October by Torn in Two, his full-length follow-up to 1979. He recorded his next album on a Disklavier, an acoustic piano equipped with solenoids, allowing it to be digitally controlled. We Will Live On was released by Friends of Friends in 2022.
© Marcy Donelson /TiVo
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