Pat Murano waited a good, long time to fly completely solo, but when he did, it was worth the wait for performer and listeners alike. Starting out as a founding member of the No Neck Blues Band, and during that time, co-founding and co-piloting the excellent project K Salvatore (I owned and enjoyed many K Salvatore recordings before I made the connection that Pat was involved), Pat became even more active in the past half-decade or so, starting the outstanding and distinctive black-metal band Malkuth (or "Mal-koot," as our French friends render it.) Malkuth was, to say the least, a surprising move, that someone from two of NY's premier improvised-music combos would also have up his sleeve a groundbreaking, one-of-a-kind voice in metal's much-maligned and misunderstood bastard-son subgenre. (You can hear Malkuth's Jan 2010 live My Castle of Quiet session by clicking here.) As if that weren't enough, in the last year, Pat whipped out yet another great improv duo, the excellent Key of Shame, with Mark Morgan of Sightings (you can hear KoS on Brian Turner's show, coming up September 6), and last but surely not least, his mind-expanding solo project, Decimus, which made its WFMU debut two weeks ago on My Castle of Quiet.
It goes almost without saying that Pat has a lot of music in him, all of it remarkably parsed out with little or no stylistic overlap, and without question, Decimus is the most melodic, uniquely psychedelic and focused (naturally, being a solo oeuvre) of the lot. This performance, rendered live without a score and only minor beforehand preparation, is a supreme effort in patient, mindful listening, and responding in kind, a focal point, a beam of individual will with little precedent in New York music. To render evolving, encompassing drones, and/or high-volume collage or "wall" noise as it's called, is an achievement in and of itself, and we've heard many a great session along those lines on The Castle—hopefully I've presented the "cream" of local and nationwide artists working in that milieu—but to do something like Decimus is another matter entirely, in that it's one individual really sounding like a "band," and as Pat expressed in the post-session interview (and I paraphrase), to change the environment in this way is to change people's minds via suggestion. In my personal view, the Decimus works achieve this in spades, and as a result sit comfortably alongside some of my most-favorite music—because a true journey occurs, and to follow that composer's gentle yet powerful suggestion, to take the journey, is the great joy of listening.
This particular set, "Decimus H" (as Decimus LPs are numbered, and digital and/or live works are lettered) is highly recommended for fans of Conrad Schnitzler (R.I.P.), Asmus Tietchens, instrumental works by Throbbing Gristle, and for a more contemporary reference, Hive Mind. It's sure to please, in general, fans of the more electronic side of Krautrock music, and post-TG global-"industrial" electronics.
Huge thanks to engineer Ernie Indradat for helming yet another successful Castle session, his sensitivity to many types of music is plainly evident in the body of work he's done with the show. And yet again, Tracy Widdess saves the day by making a valid rendering of my amateur photo capture of an artist who plays in near-complete darkness. Boundless gratitude to Pat for sharing this excellent work with WFMU and My Castle of Quiet listeners.
Decimus has many recordings available, including several on LP (two of them very new) and more for listening and download or purchase on his bandcamp page.