Mar 8, 2013

Who else thought the synths were an excursion or a side thing (2013)


Through the Window is Dominick Fernow's music/album for/about the masses/world/post-industrial-landscape, and in it he uses the language of techno rather than noise because techno and the masses/worlds/post-industrial-landscapes are interdependent, the former being born of, illustrating, and fueled by relationships within the latter group, the latter an inevitability giving rise to the former, the purveyors of which are inhabitants of the latter- critics or futurist weirdos, those in need of transcendence, and those who have given up on trying. Fernow usually deals with mechanical nihilism under the name 'Vatican Shadow' and kitschy synth driven gloom with the band Cold Cave, and Through the Window initially seems to have more in common stylistically (and presumably thematically) with these non-Prurient projects than with any Prurient release as of yet. Under 'Prurient,' behind or between the 1421841284021985415765856596797 harsh noise records Fernow's put out, there's been a refreshing element of the personal which has endeared him to many a non-noise-fan over the years, some hearing a sort of abstracted heavy metal, some hearing a condensed punk rock, most agreeing that at their best these records come from the heart and stomach(acid) rather than the book of Industrial Dada or How To Piss Your Parents Off While You're Still Living At Home. Through the Window has been designed to appear personal, then, and significant too, but surely sensitive to the themes and universal concerns of its adopted techno language.

The record is three songs long, steadily repetitious on the first and third, brief and disturbing on the second. For all three, Fernow employs the Prurient character as observer rather than subject matter. What he's looking at and interacting with is a familiar techno landscape- a bleak metropolis and hazy sci-fi desert. This, of course, is less a fiction than it is an exaggerated reflection of our world. Prurient's vision is a paranoid, abnormally sexless one that's neither conventionally crushing nor transcendent. So much of Fernow's material as Prurient has suggested a link between the self and the mechanical with its industrially abstracted expression of the musician's wants, desires, and obsessions, that it's strange to hear how alienated the character is on interacting with the (retro)futuristic metropolis. The raw expression the character longs for on the three minute Terracotta Spine struggles with, and is restrained by something that could either be a mechanical rhythm or the sound of a heartbeat under panic. The heartbeat loses out for the final track You Show Great Spirit- its repeated phrase something like a deadpan mockery of house-ish vocal samples, or the victor from track 2's ironic initiation gloat. Through the Window juggles panic and apathy, its subject matter humankind's interaction with a mechanical, indifferent world. For once 'Prurient' isn't simply a window into Fernow's id- this time he's thrown the character out of that one and into our space. Rather than being 'ego-less,' Through the Window offers a perspective from which to look at the world that we (and Fernow) occupy. It's a nasty picture/lens, but the brief panic attack in the album's centre suggests that there's some sort of humanity in the middle of everything, as susceptible as it is to being crushed by a totalitarian indifference.

Recommended for fans of Prurient, probably not techno.

B

try / buy

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