Benjamin Wynn a.k.a. Deru is an Emmy Award-winning composer, sound designer and producer.
Deru grew up in Chicago, where his earliest influences came across the airwaves of the legendary University of Chicago radio station, WHPK. Listening to hip-hop and specifically its use of static in music, Wynn began his first forays into manipulating sound. He continued his sonic explorations at the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied synthesis, digital signal processing, acoustics, music theory and composition, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Technology. While at CalArts, Ben also delved into world music, studying Balinese gamelan, African drumming and hand percussion. His multi-layered musical sensibility combines hip-hop, electronic, world music and classical composition.
As Deru, Wynn has released three albums on Mush Records, Merck Records, and Neo Ouija respectively, as well as remixes and tracks for compilations on labels like Hometapes, Ghostly International, Mille Plateaux, and a ballet score for Wayne McGregor and the Paris Opera Ballet. 2014 ushers in the next phase of Deru’s journey, as he partners with Friends of Friends for “1979”, his most extraordinary project to date.
1979 is a concept album and sculptural object, featuring nine songs by Deru accompanied by nine short films by video artist Anthony Ciannamea, that are housed in a customized handheld video projector. The subject matter is nostalgic and emotive, focusing on common origins and shared human experiences. A limited run of the projectors will be produced, and the videos will be made publicly available through an interactive website featuring a gallery of user-submitted “memories”. “1979” will be released in Summer 2014 on Friends of Friends in vinyl as well digital formats.
Words from the artist on “1979”: “There’s not a doubt in my mind that memory is our greatest gift. Our memories give us access to time, identity and dreams. I have long explored memories through stories and songs, documenting them in order to share them further. “1979” is a celebration of memory in it’s essential, shared nature.”
Telefon Tel Aviv
Formed in 1999 in New Orleans, Telefon Tel Aviv eventually got signed to Chicago's Hefty Records and released their acclaimed debut album in the fall of 2001. Other side projects include the score for the 2001 film New Port South. Their second album, "Map Of What Is Effortless", came out in January 2004.
Charlie Cooper passed away on January 22nd 2009.