Decimus 7


How does one deal with the world's nightmarish montage of bad news -- the glut of information that incites 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 and synth player Pat Murano). Musical categories dissolve in the mind as one tries to ascertain what's going on in Decimus's sonic universe, realized in a series of 12 LPs dedicated to the zodiac of Roman poet and rhetorician Decimius Magnus Ausonius (c. 310-c. 395). As with some of the most advanced and individualistic musicians (Coil, Demdike Stare, Mnemonists, Nurse with Wound), Murano instinctively generates sounds that seem 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. Each aspect of these two epic, side-long pieces feels as if it's controlled by a malevolent super-being hell-bent on subverting conventional notions of music. The A-side's untitled track sounds like an alien transmission trying to fight through static and command the listener's 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 and 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 B'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's chthonic genius. Mastered by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering. Artwork by Chloe Harris.