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Pleasure Ground
May 2007
Released: 2006, Load Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Heliogabalus


The performative critique of both mainstream and “alternative” aesthetics and politics that claim watertight moral superiority to the darker impulses, ideologies, and fetishes both inform and are shaped by Fernow like a manticore nourished on Merzbow’s self-deconstructing audio odysseys. I suppose the manticore reference would better suit a Melechesh review…but like PLEASURE GROUND…I am not going to worry about making a whole lot of technical sense.

Nevertheless, the productive permeability between Prurient’s work, and that of other artists, filmmakers, writers, and pornographers, has issued in a new generation of aesthetic modality that channels the uncanny returns of surrealism and the truly avant-garde (no pure black metal pun intended). Let me elaborate, instrument-wise we have a microphone, a synth, and an amplifier (and little else). Lots of feedback…lots of screaming…lots of harsh noise.

PLEASURE GROUND contains four tracks…all of which clock in at (or near) ten minutes (or, rather, the Tufnel-famed Eleven). The ear christening begins with “Military Road,” a track which can seriously damage hearing at standard listening volume (not kidding). And a warning, this aural assault is immediate – an instantaneous needle driver. There’s no build-up, no structure, and no progression. In retrospect, I think Fernow just wants to hurt the listener. Anyways, after track one the album morphs into a more lethargic (as in sluggish) animal. The tempo slows down so much that I actually fell asleep during my first listening of “Outdoorsman/Indestructible” …perhaps Prurient slowed it down a little too much. The final track “Apple Tree Victim” is Prurient at their best- cruel, beautiful, destructive… the song is a journey, like the soundtrack to a Dennis Cooper novel, there is a destabilization of certainties, a violation of boundaries, and a psychic dismemberment between the glissements of shadows, light, and glossolalia. I don’t know if I can accurately describe what you experience listening to this track…really Fernow outdid himself with this one.

The words “Cruel Final Cum” are located in several places in the PLEASURE GROUND booklet. The phrase also appears (lyrically) within the torturous aforementioned track “Apple Tree Victim.” Finally, the words also provide a caption under the disturbing image of a caterpillar bursting with eggs (or maggots).

Prurient is really fucked up. Just the way I like it.

Track Listing

1. Military Road
2. Earthworks / Buried in Secret
3. Outdoorsman / Indestructible
4. Apple Tree Victim


Dominick Fernow – Everything

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» Pleasure Ground
by Heliogabalus

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