How do you deal with the world’s nightmarish montage of bad news, the glut of information that triggers feelings of futility and insanity? One way to cope is to plunge deeper into the madness, at least temporarily, for a dip into the healing pool of catharsis. Few people in music today provide a more immersive alternate reality on record to combat our own horrible one than Decimus (former No-Neck Blues Band guitarist/synth player Pat Murano).
Musical categories dissolve in the mind as you try to ascertain what’s going on in Decimus‘ sonic universe. As with some of the most advanced and individualistic musicians on the planet (Coil, Demdike Stare, Mnemonists, Nurse With Wound), Murano instinctively generates sounds that appear to bypass normal listening responses and flow directly to the subconscious. Deep immersion in Decimus 7 leads the listener to a disturbing, mind-altering realm. Every aspect of these two epic sidelong pieces feels as if it’s controlled by a malevolent super-being hellbent on subverting conventional notions of music.
The A side’s untitled track sounds like an alien transmission trying to fight through static and command your soul. Grossly distorted Chrome-like grumbling and icy synth motifs waft over artfully spluttering drum-machine beats, establishing a disorienting, unsettling tone. With alchemical zeal, Murano fills the stereo field with perilous atmospheres, warped, distant melodies, Doppler Effected drones, and bleating percussion. When he brings in a trudging, sludgy 4/4 beat wreathed in mysterious mumbles and aural effluvia, it’s like an unlikely collaboration between :zoviet*france: and Severed Heads.
Side 2’s untitled piece starts with distant, bludgeoning beats hitting with unpredictable tempos and force. Four minutes in, a semi-familiar bulbous rhythm coheres into a bizarre strain of slow-motion trance music, swathed from all directions with slithery, bleepy synth tones and machine-elf utterances geared to enhance your DMT trip. Things inevitably tilt toward chaos and return to the enigmatic static that opened the album. By record’s end, you have no direction home… nor even a concept of what “home” is anymore. This may be the ultimate distillation of Decimus‘ chthonic genius.