Deca – Lucifero Alchemico [Atom Institute]

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Deca is the moniker of “musical alchemist” Federico De Caroli, an Italian artist interested in experimental ambient music which has evolved in time from spacey and melodic style to a darker take with industrial, noise elements.

During his long career which started in 1985 with self-released cassette Gatejox, he has explored minimal synth-pop, new wave, EBM, contemporary classic music, and he collaborated with artists like Kluster Cold (Carlo Ponte), Valmat, Psycho Kinder (Alessandro Camilletti). His music aims to create an alchemy of artificial and natural sounds in a complex and hermetic fashion.

His last effort Lucifero Alchemico saw its genesis between 2016 and 2018 – interspersed with De Caroli’s work in TV channels and sound-scores. The resulting tracks have been mastered and mixed in 2021 by Alessandro Mazzitelli and Deca himself; here we find a work informed by his ever evolving style where piano and synthesizer meet sampled and manipulated voices, noises, tools, electro-acoustic parts, and thanks to special recording techniques we have parts with a 3-d sound.

4 mini-suites of 11 minutes each explore the world of alchemy, gnosticism, esoteric concepts, reflected in the actual artwork by Atomic Art and the use of inverted and transformed harmonies and melodies. A work in which concept and sound are inextricably linked in an immersive experience requiring a focused listening session.

Vorago Deboniana welcomes us with eerie drones and dark ambient motifs, conjuring an atavistic soundscapes in which our doubt and insecurities are debunked via spiritual journeys. Sharp noises grow in intensity showcasing hellish scenarios with ghostly voices, but soothing sounds are ready to have their say in the long composition, as well as acoustic elements used in the last part of the track to a great effect.

Solve Roticruent follows suit with grandiose ambiances and harmonies full of pathos, an enthralling sound which guides the listener with its evocative and melancholic melodies. Slowly, the track evolves with darker undertones, but a charming piano motif keeps things interesting and peculiar, while dramatic synths create a sound-score for imaginary movies. A rhythmic crescendo implode into a looping sequence doomed to end with more ambient passages.

Phosphorea Feromund returns to droning mantras and crawling dark elements, adding distorted voices in a ceremonial atmosphere underlined by severe orchestrations. Shrilling noises conceive obsessive sequences upon which sudden alarming effects are layered, and during the second half we meet eerier takes with evocative choruses rendered as heavily effected sounds.

The title track ends our voyage with melodies interspersed with ominous dark sounds in what could be a perfect fit for a horror/thriller pastiche. The episode doesn’t forfeit melancholic strings and captivating structures, as well as doesn’t shy away from sudden violations of melodies and returns to dark ambient motifs. The second half offers evocative synths and electro-acoustic elements in a mix of elements encapsulating the theme of the album, and the final climax is a burst of noises and orchestrations.

Lucifero Alchemico is not meant to be a casual listen, the work has been conceived with strong purpose and intent. The 4 suits are part of a whole with their distinctive nature, but linked together in an esoteric jouey of the mind and the soul. Alchemy in theme and sound, a manipulation and transformation of identity and music in a panic experience.

Release date: February 19th, 2021.

Text by: Davide Pappalardo.

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