This summer, hallucinatory keyboard wizard Marco Benevento pulls back the curtain on his hazy home studio with Benevento — 40-minutes of small-batch psychedelia bubbled up from the base of the Catskill Mountains.
Titled as a nod to Paul McCartney’s first solo album, the record is a similarly loose, low-key affair. Like Macca’s eponymous release, Benevento is a solo work, where song sketches and sunrise jams share space with more constructed tracks.
With few exceptions — guest percussion from Mamadouba ‘Mimo’ Camara on a handful of songs, and backing vocal appearances by his wife and kids — Benevento played all of the instruments. He also produced and engineered the album, all from Fred Short Studios, located at his Woodstock, NY home.
“This record really acts as a psychedelic window into my studio and my brain,” Benevento says. Recording was conducted amidst stacks of gear in varying states of repair, all fodder for inspiration during long quarantine-dictated solo jam sessions.
“The studio was a good place to be trapped,” Benevento says. “Surrounded by tape machines and gear. The album started to become this document of a crazy dude losing his mind in the woods — and maybe regaining it.”
Benevento has since decamped to a new, significantly larger, home studio. As such, the album acts as a swan song for — and love letter to — his former workspace.
“Wall-to-wall keyboards, mics, amps, drums… The place was about to explode,” Benevento laughs.
In this environment, Benevento unlocked his archives, mining for unfinished song ideas, and surrendered to the machines, coaxing beats and melodies from both go-to favorites and gear that had long since seen a dusting.