Prurient Fossil

[Truculent; 2005]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: harsh noise
Others: New Blockaders, Emil Beaulieau

Dominick Fernow is a throwback to the earliest noise experimenters. Armed with a mic, a few amps, and not much else, Fernow makes some of the most violent, speaker melting non-songs this side of the world. Up until now, Fernow has struggled to translate his wealth of talent and the intensity of his live shows onto record. Almost every Prurient album is indiscernible from the next. The sounds collected on each album are slightly different, but the dynamics essentially remain the same. Not that the interconnectedness of the albums is a bad thing -- History of AIDS and Shipwrecker's Diary are great albums of harsh noise -- but it always seemed like Fernow could transcend this plane.

Fossil is a step forward for Fernow. Instead of embarking on his lonesome, Fernow is joined by Ben Bartlett (dropdead) on guitar and percussion, Jeff Plummer on synthesizer, and Kris Lapke and Emily Salvatierra lending vocals and percussion. The result is two 25+ minute pieces with styles ranging from harsh noise to ambient that never lag or bore and are almost always enthralling. As proven with the limited edition Nihilist Assault Group LP released earlier this year, Fernow just sounds better with other musicians.

The first piece, "With You," features Fernow supplementing an Eno-esque synth line before bursting into a sonic fury of kaleidoscopic machine gun noise. There are various changes in sound and dynamics throughout the piece. It is a 27-minute track that feels more like a composition than a jam session. "Waiting" follows the same path with varying results. The track sounds like a noise fanatic's wet dream: Boyd Rice jamming with Fernow, members of the Grey Wolves and Whitehouse. It leans more toward the harsh noise tip, but the additional musicians make the track an unforgettable half-hour of destructive noise terror supplemented by spurts of classical music.

Fossil finally fulfils the promise that Fernow has shown for years. It is a dizzying journey through the swamps and skies. It seems that all Fernow needed to transcend the plane of harsh noise was a little help from his friends.

1. With You
2. Waiting