Prurient - _Frozen Niagara Falls_
(Profound Lore Records, 2015)
by: Dan Lake (8.5 out of 10)
Prurient is the seventeen-year-old electronics/noise project established and maintained by Dominick Fernow. Since 1998, Fernow has precipitated a massive blowout of full-length albums, EPs, splits and cassettes in his tireless practice of outsider sound art. Now working with Profound Lore Records, Fernow has released one of the most successfully ensorcelling releases thus far.

_Frozen Niagara Falls_ is a sprawling two-disc undertaking that was surely a labor of love for its creator and becomes such a labor for its audience. Nobody undedicated to this project will make it through _FNF_'s nocturnal epic, and that is no indication of fault. _FNF_ is simply 91 minutes of spiraling spiritual calamity given a meek and muted voice, and not everyone has the patience to investigate all the morbid, vulnerable corners inherent in this kind of extreme quasi-music. Those of us who share Fernow's passion, though, are lucky. _FNF_ is an album to get lost in, a harried voyage through a scarred and grasping mind.

Almost every track includes lyrics spat or mumbled in Fernow's idiosyncratic style. The words do not sketch out stories but complex emotional snapshots that are as confusing as they are intriguing. In general, listing album highlights is like choosing a favorite episode of _Breaking Bad_ or _Game of Thrones_ or _The Walking Dead_ -- they're all really fucking great. Opener "Myth of Building Bridges" is a gorgeous, almost Lustre-style mash-up of synth melodies with frayed-signal noise scree. "Greenpoint" feints toward gentle acoustic folk, then remembers who it works for and slowly opens the flow of electronic bastardization and Fernow's hyper-personal lyrical mutterings. "Poinsettia Pills" fills up with jittery turbulence with Fernow de/reconstructs ruthlessly, and "Shoulders of Summerstones" echoes mournfully across a fractured dirge. "Dragonflies to Sew You Up" and "Traditional Snowfall" graft some relentless programmed pounding to their ghostly, cinematic quasar keyboards and Fernow's caustic rasp. "Every Relationship Earthrise" launches a Zombi-outfitted space capsule briskly away, settling its score in little more than three minutes on an album that often takes between five and twelve minutes to make a point. Both parts of the title track (each about seven minutes long) wallow in spectral drone and white noise; "Falling Mask" is maybe the most confrontationally painful track on the record.

Throughout _FNF_, Fernow turns his own psychological ruminations into those legendary Greek sirens, beckoning us toward bliss or agony, carnal fulfillment or carnivorous dismemberment. You can only know which if you follow the voices...


(article published 12/8/2015)

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