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M.B.+Barnacles - Sidereal Decomposition Activity [Artoffact Records - 2018]

With Sidereal Decomposition Activity the two masters of the Italian electronic scene joined together for the  second time here. Their first collab happened back in 2007 with the album Erimos. Maurizio Bianchi, acting here under the initials of MB, is a veteran of the Italian industrial / electronic scene, who started his career in the far 80s. Matteo Uggeri (Barnacles) is also widely known as a visual designer and composer since the 90s, whose also made many collaborations with famous  experimental artists over the years

This album was released on American label Artoffact Records as a digipack CD with edition of 300 copies and is still available for order.

The cover is made in warm, but quite aggressive orange-yellow tones. On the cover there is a cave vault, eaten by erosion. In the foreground there are blurred orange glare, as well as the name of the project and album's title, made in white, using a font that seemed to me slightly "mathematical" or "digital." I admit that the cover and the title of the album "Sidereal Decomposition Activity" seemed to me a little incompatible.

The album, with a total runtime of forty three minutes, consisting of four rather long tracks. It begins with an alarming and saturated track called "Infinity Cosmic Eruption". This is the longest track on the album, running just over 13 minutes. It begins with sounds similar to an alarm, to which gradually other sounds are added, creating an feeling of apocalyptic panic . All this grows into a droning sound wall, accompanied by a confident rhythmic drum line, made in dub style with very deep bass drums. Gradually, towards the end of the track, the sound saturation is reduced, giving way to light noise effects and more natural sounds.

The second track is the title track. It's also quite a long  coming in at around the 12 minute mark. It is very different from the first. It is lighter and devoid of an alarming atmosphere. There is something here that can be called a melodic component. Distorted synthetic notes, similar to the sounds of a flute, flow into each other, forming a single stream, against which the tribal drums are audible. In the second half of the track the rhythmic pattern changes several times, still remaining in the tribal style. This track smoothly flows into the third one.

"Astral Fall Dynamism" begins with distant human voices, it seemed to me that these were some kind of tribal songs. Then comes the string instrument, sounding like a domra. After a few notes, begins a very beautiful string beat, which is supported by a simple rhythmic component - single strokes after a certain period of time. All this eventually becomes like some kind of Indian raga. However, unfortunately, this meditative segment is not as long as I would like.

The third track begins before the end of the previous one. It's titled "Unearthly Armagheddon Energy" and is an almost classical sound of the Berlin school. A couple of times I even thought that I was listening to something from Tangerine Dream. The track is very light in terms of sound, with a confident rhythm section, but with a very unexpected completion.

The overall impression of the album remained ambiguous ... It seemed that both parties here wanted to say a lot, but constantly interrupted each other, preventing the development of the theme of their partner. Yes, the album turned out to be beautiful and saturated (sometimes even too saturated), but there is no sense of integrity. The first track is very different from the rest of the album. It seems to have been taken from a completely different album. The other three tracks are connected and try to create a common sound picture, but memorable moments and interesting sound finds coexist with absolutely banal sounds. It seemed to me not very well thought out compositional component, and the unexpected ending of the last track (and, accordingly, the whole album) left me in perplexity. In the end, I heard more Barnacles than Maurizio Bianchi in this release. May the masters forgive me, but this is not their best joint work. The pair have produced  very high quality material in, but I did not hear in it that space, astral and unearthly energy that was reflected in the title of the album and compositions. Nevertheless, I believe that this album is compulsory for listening to the fans of these wonderful artists.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Sergey Pakhomov
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