Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Year-End Post V : Prurient : Bermuda Drain

I had a strong feeling when I first heard the Many Jewels Surround The Crown single that the full length to follow would be my favorite album of the year. When the final product arrived some two months later, it was certainly not the album that I was anticipating, but that appealed to me in even more than if it had been.

In the promotional material for last year’s Llanos CD I wrote “The music and the noise have made peace” outlining the hybridization of these two sound worlds my primary goal. While Prurient’s musical taste is obviously quite different from my own, I still find myself in awe of the ease with which he merged those elements with his rich noise repertoire. The production is impeccable from track to track and the album as a whole sounds like the result of years of refinement, not the stylistic departure it is in actuality. (I’d like to take an aside here to recommend the demos on the cassette version of the album, which offer a little insight into the transition.)

I never approached noise from a darkened, bleak perspective. I found in it a cathartic joy I couldn’t find anywhere else. Over the years the sources of that joy have shifted, splintered and refined themselves repeatedly. This year no sound culled that raw emotion as emphatically as the feedback/crunch combo of Watch Silently. Hearing it now I still recall the first time I heard it. The stereo noise at the beginning of Myth of Sex has the same visceral burrowing effect. Prurient may be a much more musical project these days, but this noise is still of an unparalleled pedigree.

I won’t pretend to understand Dominick Fenrow. He is a uniquely warped individual in a uniquely warped world. The last time I saw him, he’d been on a tour bus for weeks and was desperate to talk to anyone about Masami Akita. (No exaggeration. He had purchased a small mountain of used Merzbow CDs on the trip and was looking to compare notes.) I can’t relate to a lot of what motivates him, but our lives and works have intersected repeatedly over the past decade and he is one of the people I’m most proud to know. The world is a better place because of Prurient and 2011 was a better year because of Bermuda Drain.

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