Music Reviews

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Artist: M.B. + Barnacles (@)
Title: Sidereal Decomposition Activity
Format: CD + Download
Label: Artoffact Records (@)
Rated: *****
M. B. is Maurizio Bianchi, and Barnacles is Matteo Uggeri, two leaders in the modern Italian electronic industrial avant-garde. Bianchi (in case you didn't already know) is a pioneer of industrial music going way, way back to the earliest 1980s. To list his credits and collaborations would take more space and time than I have available. Matteo you may know from Sparkle in Grey, some of whose works I've reviewed here in the not too distant past. The first collaboration between these two came about in 2007 with the release of the album 'One Single Sound' . On this recording MB provides analogue noises, drones and melodies, while Matteo utilizes beats, keyboards, field recordings and Tibetan bells. Drum work is done by Simone Riva and Cristiano Lupo. As MB describes the music of this work: "Astral melodies are excavating in the eruption constriction, while a neurotic fall scratches extemporaneous sidereal manumissions. The salubrious dynamism is compatible with the invisible decomposition but a paranoic infinity recalls an overcast activity for a cosmic relativity. Unearthly diagnosis cheers the outward for a screaming Armageddon, grinding through our nocturnal energy in the consolidate universe."

The album is comprised of four long tracks between 8 and 13 minutes length. Opening track "Infinity Cosmic Eruption" begins with sustained cymbal(s) or gong(s) ringing out and some thumping around as well as some other unidentifiable bits of sound. Out of this comes a heavy rhythm on drumkit with a sustained harsh, cutting drone. Most of the harsh portions of the drone eventually subside over time replaced by some noisy electronics. Various electro-acoustic sounds can be heard, often echoed off, as the piece deconstructs in a piercing, whistling drone after the drums drop out. Title track "Sidereal Decomposition Activity" has loopy abstract semi-melodic electronics over a beat that sounds Native American. Over time the rhythm gets jumbled through sonic manipulation and loses its straight path morphing into something more freeform. All the while these improvised electronic sustained tones keep right on playing. There is somewhat of a psychedelic ambience to it all, and when the drums return in a different pattern, I'm reminded of some of the Krautrock experiments of the 1970s.

The end of this track with its spacey, echoey electro-drones moves seamlessly into "Astral Fall Dynamism" and I suspect that the ebow guitar is largely responsible for some of those sounds. Here everything is mixed into some type of strange brew with elements of electronics, plunked and rapidly fingered stringed instrument(s), amongst other sonic effluvia. It's a dense, abstract porridge of psychedelia obviously intended to be mind-blowing. As with the previous, the looped electronics/noise drone blends seamlessly into the next (and last) track "Unearthly Armagheddon Energy". Heavy orchestral strings, fizzy noise and a rudimentary rhythm that seems to turn into a chugging steam train. The string pads on this one remind me a lot of Tangerine Dream's use of them, but on which album I can't remember. Nostalgic, at any rate. The whole thing had me thinking of Kraut rock experimentation of the 1970s as a pastiche of the genre. I don't know if that was intentional or subliminal, but the ethos seems to be there. This is certainly not an album for everybody. There is no concession to commercialism in any regard, and although I wasn't hearing anything that I haven't heard before in one way or another, it still makes for an interesting listen.



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