This is sadly out of print but readily available if you stalk Discogs. When I first experimented with leftfield non-music the idea of subjecting myself to another Wolf Eyes record after my experience with Burned Mind was a remote possibility at best. But as the years have trickled by and my ears have tuned in properly, a Wolf Eyes record is an exciting prospect. From the outset I should mention that this is not a collaboration. Wolf Eyes do the first two tracks and Prurient has the final eleven. I’m not entirely sure what the point of that is except perhaps a financial collaboration for the band. Initially on buying this I was a bit disappointed because I was keen to hear a pure collaboration like Prurient’s work with Kevin Drumm to Wolf Eyes work with Black Dice. But when I approached it as two separate EP’s from giants of the noise scene it became a lot more fun. The two Wolf Eyes tracks explore the creepier more minimal side of the band rather than the horror death disco of Burned Mind. They are great – brooding horror- capes of unsettling intensity. The eleven Prurient tracks rank among his best. High pitched scree and industrial clang moves into those distortion laden dark ambient passages found on Black Post Society. Quality stuff. This morning is New Years Day and after a night of being subject to a great deal of U2 and Powderfinger I’m probably enjoying this a little too much.
Archive for the Prurient Category
This one took me back a bit. If you have dabbled in a bit of Prurient’s recent work you’ll know that it’s all a bit gothic, power electronics about sexual violence, death, self harm and fluids. I’m a big fan and anyone who hasn’t heard Black Post Society, Cocaine Death or his un-fucking-believable collaboration with Kevin Drumm needs to do so now. prurient is still producing some of the most vital noise out there right now. Shipwreckers Diary is a much more straight forward noise record than we’re used to. There is no drama or screaming or thematically difficult stuff here. It is a record that owes a lot to Japanese noise and I suspect that if I sent this to you without the cover and wrote Merzbow on it you would be none the wiser although maybe a bit suspicious at the short length of the tracks. I think it’s always pretty interesting if I discover a noise artist in their later career (hello Kevin Drumm) to have a bit of a fossick around their earlier work. This is a pretty good noise record. It may not be the Prurient I’m used to but is that always such a bad thing?
Well here is one I forgot to add to my list of the best albums of last year. In fact if I had a ranking, this would have been about number three. This collaboration find the sublime and sometimes noisy drone of Drumm anchoring some classic Prurient moments. Given just how damn visceral and unsettling most of Prurient’s work is, it is a true testament to both that the bedrock of different drones are used to amp up the creep factor quite a number of notches. The opening track is full of ordinary Prurient themes: masters, slaves, pervy things, rubber underpants and pain – but I guarantee you that you’ve never heard them in this sound context. At times it is Drumm’s drones, nearly distorting under the strain, that dominate proceedings which makes perfect sense when your teaming up with Prurient because isn’t a lot of his work about dominance and submission? There are things on here which are simply extraordinary if you are a noise nerd. Take the fourth track Though the Apple is Rotten – the static effect is so unsettling that it’s like degraded hypnagogic Wolf Eyes. I thought half way through that my headphones were fucked.
All Are Guests in the House of the Lord is one of my favourite records by either artist. As an aside if you are new to exploring noise and experimental sound then you should never shy away from a collaborative record. In my collection some of the best records I’ve heard are when artists team up to create something fantastically original. Excellent.
My first draft of this post was quite dismissive of Black Vase which might come as a bit of a surprise to some given the previous praise I’ve dumped on Prurient’s work on these pages. The trouble might have been that this is a totally different beast to the other Prurient records I own – Evol’s word for Black Vase was “challenging” – which might be the understatement of the year. This is very challenging stuff indeed. Cocaine Death is almost cuddly compared to some of the sonic nastiness going on here but in many ways Black Vase is no less rewarding. Black Vase doesn’t exactly have a musical theme but it sure as shit has a lyrical theme, that being S&M. Never understood S&M myself mind, but that hasn’t stopped me enjoying this. The first track Romans Shower displays a certain hatred for the listener with its super high intense frequency which certainly gave me a few painful moments. The lyrics though (and hats of for putting lyric sheets in the booklet) are pervy as can be – well as pervy as they can get when creamed death metal style over the accompanying sonic mess. After the violence of Roman Shower the tracks become, if not easier to listen to then certainly a great deal more tangible with big drum beats and percussive elements anchoring the next two tracks while noise shears in and out of the cauldron. Even Silver Flashlight which begins in much the same high frequency vein as Roman Shower eventually allows some drumming to ground it all. For noise nerds the real treat is in the 17 minute long title track which is pointless explaining but has some powerful droning elements which I thought were pretty good. From then on Black Vase has those cathartic and violent elements which often anchors the best noise. Although this is certainly not the record if you’re thinking of having a dabble, I think it’s great. Just know what you’re getting yourself in for.
I’ve become increasingly obsessed by Prurient and in a matter of a couple of weeks now own way too many of his records. When I’ve read about his records in the past the reviewers always seem to be a bit snippy. Particularly the Wire. For the most part his back catalogue seems to be pure harsh noise excursions with little light – massive walls of blackened noise. In the past couple of years the general consensus seems to be that he has turned it down a notch and allowed actual music to makes appearances on his records. I think the shippiness comes frmo the melodrama of Prurient’s records which is always dialled all the way up to 10. Does he take himself far too seriously? Probably – but whatever, it works for me.
The first Prurient record I bought, Cocaine Death, blew me away and right after I digested that I located a copy of this, probably his most recent easy to track down record. It’s a far different beast to Cocaine Death in that it is less rhythm happy and more a mood piece (thanks Azzief). In fact I’d go so far as to say that this approaches dark ambient (at times) territory. Although you wouldn’t know it if the opener is anything to go by. Black Post Society starts with the most sublime Suicide style risk before morphing into a black electronic head fuck. Things settle down on the next few tracks. I read one review which commented that this record is oppressively depressing. I didn’t get that at all. In fact I think that Black Post Society has a tiny bit of hope peeping out from the darkness. In fact some of the tracks here are staggeringly beautiful, putting to one side Prurient’s penchant for a black metal growl and distorted spoken word. I’ve been flogging this one to death and it really is worthwhile tracking down. Stylistically, it’s black metal, noise, power electronics, spoken word, dark ambient and drone all mixed into one – and at the moment that suits me fine.
I love when I buy an album by an artist that I’ve never heard before and that album just blows me away. This is how I feel about Prurient’s Cocaine Death. I’d always steered clear of Prurient’s records because after reading various reviews I thought he fell in to the horror noise category a genre I’ve moved away from since discovering drone. How wrong I was not to hear him sooner. This is one of the best noise records I own. Prurient is basically the moniker used by New York based noise artist Dominick Fernow. He released a ton of records in 2008 and I’ve decided that if any of them are as good as this, it would be a sensible move to buy as many as possible. Cocaine Death is a compilation of previous releases that are now out of print. I won’t list them here because if you’re a serious Prurient nut you’ll know all this already yet Cocaine Death doesn’t sound like a compilation. In fact had I not known I would have thought that all of these tracks were recorded at the same time. The other thing I’ve noticed since becoming interested in Prurient is that there seems to be a general consensus that his earlier stuff was a lot more uncompromising than his recent efforts. Many have gone so far to say that he has embraced songs (gasp! horror!). Some of the reviews I read get a bit sniffy about it, kind of implying that he used to be better in the old days. Well I don’t know about that. This is my first experience with his music and I have to say you might be reading a lot more about him in noisenosienoise if his other records match the quality I found on Cocaine Death.
One of the things I like about Cocaine Death is that the tracks themselves are nice and short. In a genre where length is the norm, having a record that runs under 50 minutes and crams 10 tracks into that space is a novelty. Cocaine Death starts with an absolute ripper a beat filled, doomish, gothic vibe that is then infused with black metalish type vocals, yet the strange thing is that (despite the inclusion of a lyric sheet) I can actually understand what he is singing. The vocal effect is pretty cool. It had me thinking of Davros from Dr Who fronting Wolves in the Throne Room. Huge amounts of fun. The rest of the tracks are just as great. This is obviously a dark ambient/noise record but it is like Wolf Eyes teamed up with Peter Rehberg and then got their inner Goth on or maybe more like Xiu Xiu processed by KTL with a Whitehouse fixation. It’s all very hard to pin down . Take the third track. Fernow takes some vaguely Stars With Lid drone that evolves into something techno-esque, adds a dose of Dilloway’s crackle, adds further layers of hiss and malevolence and then alternates between screaming and spoken word. It’s hard to imagine a track that exhibits such beauty evolving into something so harrowing. Cocaine Death is well worth tracking down. Any guidance about where to head to next is would be greatly appreciated.