CORDIS CINTI SERPENTE
C50 Chrome Tape.
Produced in 23 Limited Copies.
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– January 22, 2022
This is my second encounter with Cordis Cincti Serpente, the dark ambient/esoteric occult project of Adrian Marcado from Bari, Italy, following ‘Noo Yuggoth (Redux)’ which I reviewed back in the summer of 2017. This work should have been reviewed much earlier than the present, but as so often with some things, this one “slipped through the cracks” so to speak, and got mixed in with the “already reviewed” pile when in actuality, it wasn’t. Be that as it may, a brief refresher on this project is in order. The Latin-derived name Cordis Cincti Serpente is taken from the title of one of Aleister Crowley’s Holy Books of Thelema, so you know magick is involved here. ‘Cenobitorium’ is derived from Cenobite, a term originally ascribed to a member of a monastic community, until Clive Barker co-opted it for his extradimensional demonic beings in the Hellraiser series. Considering the tone of this recording, I’m more inclined to go with the latter rather than the former.
While ‘Noo Yuggoth’ was Lovecraftian in nature, this is something completely different. It is a work in 3 parts (Cenobitorium I, II, III), 9:42, 13:06 and 23:24, respectively. Much of it is uncomfortable, and all of it is enigmatic. Right out of the gate you are confronted with clashing windchimes, an oppressive drone and squealing animal sounds (pigs, hogs, swine, maybe others). The drone turns buzzy and becomes even more oppressive. The squeals grow more frantic and might be representative of other animals as well. There is no convenient description or guide put out by label or artist for this work, so your imagination can run wild. Ritual slaughter? Inhumane symbolism? Who can say. The swine don’t sound like they’re having a good time though. Fortunately this is the shortest track, but it still seemed rather long to me.
Part 2 begins with a number of foley sounds (ordinary activity) difficult to identify in specific, interspersed with brief, thick slabs of low chords until a drone emulating an electric grindstone emerges between a cluster of random metallic sounds. That semi-piercing sharpening drone wears on the ears rather quickly, and eventually morphs into a different piercing pitch just as uncomfortable. That ceases about halfway through and you’re left in a rather strange, unsettling electro-acoustic environment. The electric grindstone drone makes intermittent reappearances as well as other higher pitched piercing drones adding to the anxiety. The electronics which have been in the background up to this point become a rhythmic element, eventually petering out with muffled, manipulated voices trailing off. Part 3 is a dichotomy of being both the weirdest and most normal segment of this work. It’s comprised of recurring sounds that include traffic; an intermittent but measured clanging bell (buoy warning?); a semi-garbled low pitched repetitious sequenced synth; unintelligible manipulated voices; an intermittent chordal string pad played lightly in the background; and other sonic rumblings. This goes on for 23+ minutes.
Merely describing the sounds doesn’t do this work justice, but there’s no other way I can think of to relate it. The work is so arcane that very few people are likely to be interested in it, so a release limited to 23 cassette copies (there may still even been some available) seems like the most practical idea. (Also consider the cryptic symbolism of the number 23.) While I can’t see how ‘Cenobitorium’ would be good background music for working ritual magick, I can see how it would be inscrutable enough to interest some who might practice it. ‘Cenobitorium’ is a work which I refuse to rate (by number of stars) not because it is undeserving, but simply because it is unquantifiable.
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