Long before DJ Paul became a reality TV staple and Crunchy Black took home an Oscar to put on his mantle, Three 6 Mafia were one of many groups floating around the Memphis underground in the mid-nineties. Big time hip-hop belonged to east and west coasts with very little exception, so what was happening in Memphis was truly outside the mainstream. For the most part, the music was immune to the sway of the radio-- the shit was evil, death-obsessed, creepy, lo-fi, and low-budget. Darkthrone for the Memphis ghetto.
Much like the Norwegian scene that spawned Darkthrone, these folks realized that if they wanted to have music that reflected their own interests, they would have to make it themselves. So they created tracks in their basements, manufactured them on cassette tape, and distributed them out of the trunks of their cars--by themselves, for themselves. Folk music for the modern age.
Unbeknownst to Evil Pimp, the No Neck Blues Band were simultaneously reveling in a similar freedom, albeit out in NYC. Unfortunately, when faced with new opportunities, one can easily forget the worth of doing it yourself (just ask DJ Paul).
Anyways, Kelippah Records documents my own rediscovery of the power of taking things into your own hands. Give a listen to the music that I, my friends, and the fine citizens of Memphis made. Then go make some of your own.
Decimus' new album, Decimus #11 is out now on Digitalis Recordings. You can see Decimus this evening at Reversible Eye in Chicago, as part of Banter, a concert series sponsored by AdHoc. Check out the details here.
For the past few months, Upstate New York's Black Dirt Studio has been host to a series of one-off collaborations between some of underground music's most talented unsung heroes, from Steve Gunn and Black Twig Pickers to Pigeons, Dave Shuford, and Margot Bianca. For the fourth installment of Natch, as the series is called, founding engineer Jason Meagher brought together Charalambides guitar wizard Tom Carter and No Neck Blues Band mainstay Pat Murano, whose Decimus project was recently featured on this site by Mutant Sounds' Eric Lumbleau. The 3-track session, available for download via the Free Music Archive, ranges from droney atmospherics and crackling found sound collages to unhinged collisions of industrial texture and burnished guitar squeal, like on "Emir of Hammadan," below.
One time K Salvatore member turned operative in New York's sage institution of freaky outsider free action, the No Neck Blues Band, Pat Murano has been quietly turning out a series of acutely immersive electronic environments as part of a 12 LP series exploring the Zodiac. Decimus 4 is actually his seventh LP under the Decimus moniker, since they've been deliberately issued out of sequence to maximize collector confusion. Prior Decimus outings on Murano's own Kelippah imprint as well as Holidays Records and the Alga Marghen sublabel Planam responsible for this entry in the series have felt informed by both first wave Krautrock electronic merchants like Kluster and Seesselberg and the slurred, murked synth loop manipulations of post-industrial pioneer Maurizio Bianchi.
4, however, adds a whole 'noter sense of dimensionality to the Decimus equation, with glistening arteries of coiling and unfurling analog synth micro-activity doing a quicksilver slither through the more dominant gurgle surges of Murano's ever-modulating mix to increasingly reality-dissolving ends. Warning: this might cause spontaneous ejaculations among those inclined to palpitate over the likes of Sunroof! and Astral Social Club, so keep your hankies handy and steady yourself for the pore-penetrating kosmiche onslaught.
Decimus 4 is out now on Kelippah