Prurient - Rainbow Mirror

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  • In a conversation I had with Dominick Fernow earlier this year, he described his music as a "stain on the world." His discography is a sprawling collection of tapes, CD-Rs, art pieces and one-off collaborations, with proper albums strewn in between. Not even Fernow himself has a full grasp of what he's released over the years, though in 2017 he tried to take stock on account of the 20th anniversary of his label, Hospital Productions. Rainbow Mirror is the culmination of all that introspection: a seven-LP set that manages to outdo in scale his last Prurient album, Frozen Niagara Falls. It marries the avant-garde nature of his earliest material with the more synth-driven style of his latter-day work. In its inclusion of long, droning jams made by a three-piece, Rainbow Mirror also echoes Prurient's first shows, when the project was an improvisational live trio. It should be a pleasure—both the beautiful and the masochistic kinds—for patient listeners and Prurient fans alike. Rainbow Mirror traffics in something between dark ambient and noise, straying from the ear-bleeding heights of classic Prurient albums like Cocaine Death while also forgoing the melodic aspect of recent work. You might imagine the trio sitting around some nighttime campfire, absorbing the silence—and the occasional flickers of noise—around them. The subdued creep of tracks like "Walking On Dehydrated Coral" recalls some of Hospital Productions' earliest days, when the emphasis was more on contact mics and raw texture than anything resembling songcraft. Rainbow Mirror's first section is its most alienating, with organs and synthesizers curling around pockets of noise and rhythm, all with little discernible structure. The flashes of lucidity occur in Rainbow Mirror's dense middle, among a thicket of 15- to 20-minute-long tracks. "Okinawan Burial Vaults," a major highlight, is a throbbing march flecked by feedback and distorted vocals. "Cruel Worlds" features bits of banjo fighting through high frequencies and bursts of noise. The third and final section focuses on pure drone. "Naturecum" occasionally sounds like a plane flying overhead. The two-part "Buddha Strangled In Vines" is notable, too, but it riffs on a short motif for so long that, towards the end of its 29-minute duration, it can be almost maddening. The hints at Buddhism reveal something about the approach here: this is meditative, trance-like music meant to instil a mood or feeling. The album's scope goes far beyond any Prurient record in length and style, yet the LP's mood is also oddly understated, shrinking down from the cathartic heights of, say, Frozen Niagara Falls or the pure anger of Bermuda Drain. Rainbow Mirror is the kind of record you'd dip in and out of rather than listening all the way through, which would be a Herculean task. (Its length was too extreme even for the extreme music community.) But it seems an apt way to mark 20 years of this mercurial, confrontational project and the label that houses it. The noise of Prurient might have receded into the background, but Fernow's defiance has not. At over three hours of half-lidded drone and ambient, Rainbow Mirror is one of the quietest Prurient albums, yet also one of the most demanding.
  • Tracklist
      01. Barefoot God 02. Walking On Dehydrated Coral 03. Midnight Kabar 04. Chaos-Sex 05. Falling In The Water 06. Okinawan Burial Vaults 07. April Fools Day Aspect Sinister 08. Cruel Worlds 09. Naturecum 10. Blue Kimono Over Corpse 11. Path Is Short 12. Buddha Strangled In Vines (Part One) 13. Buddha Strangled In Vines (Part Two) 14. Lazarus Flamethrower Sleepwalk 15. Buddhist State