“When you hear this in the club, you’re gonna turn this shit up.” – Scott Walker
There’s more than one path to making a racket, and Dominic Fernow‘s discography crosses many of them. From the brutal simplicity of his earlier Prurient work to the militarized techno of Vatican Shadow, there’s always a sense of subtle change and growth in his compositions that places him above the binding ideologies of genre classification. 2011’s Bermuda Drain was one of the first signs that his harshities were shifting; volatile synth-noise that was occasionally as somberly gentle as it was gut-wrenching. Through The Window, his first release for Blackest Ever Black, replaces much of the dissonance for heavy, brooding rave—a move that parallels the evolution (some would say ruination) of industrial music, but rather than confusion, it breeds ritualized celebration of the darkest sort.
The title track begins with searing synth loops and sub-audible whispers, building an atmosphere of disorientation and thick unease. Rhythmic percussion evokes raw, organic engines chugging across a vast desolation, steadily focusing itself into something denser. When the track finally bursts through at the halfway-point with a pulsating dance beat and chrome-plated synth stabs, it becomes clear that this is not just a stylistic shift, but rather a different take on what noise music can mean. Fernow’s power was never in his harshness or experimentalism, but rather in the hypnotic power he evokes with it. All the elements that existed in his earlier work—aggression, the steady howl of drone, a feeling of some monstrous work being done just beyond your perception—exist here. They’ve just been reformatted, re-imagined. “Terracotta Spine” is the post-party k-hole, a spiral of looped drumming, tape scratches and refracting vocals that feel like a public service announcement delivered to a dying mind. The plucked and trembling chords of “You Show Great Spirit” feel fragile afterwards, the skittering train-track beat and the sounds of broken glass shiver together in the cold light of concrete artificiality.
The surface elements of Prurient have changed a lot from his earlier work, though the dirty film coating it has more or less remained. What hasn’t changed is the truth inherent in his sounds. It’s a vicious and terrible truth, certainly, but terrible truths are far more enlightening than pleasant ones.
Published February 05, 2013. Words by Daniel Jones.