Digging: Prurient – The Baron’s Chamber

Prurient: The Baron’s Chamber
Nihilist (2005)

Somewhere between the white noise fuckery of Prurient’s junior years and the dark ambience of his more recent output, lies The Baron’s Chamber. A throbbing slab of low-slung static and burnt out vocals. A single thirty-minute track featuring distinct ‘movements’ weighed down in a sludgy and hopeless atmosphere that calls to mind Khanate, if they were channelled through a malfunctioning TV being beamed out to Mars.

What I love about The Baron’s Chamber are the washes of some classical Waltz that drift in and out of range at odd intervals, creating a sentimental and kind of creepy contrast to the relentless fuzz. I’m reminded of Jack Nicholson hearing the sounds of another era celebrating NYE in the bowels of the supposedly empty Overlook Hotel – this record would make a great soundtrack to The Shining.

Vocals take a back seat, and are well disguised within everything else that’s going on. Fuck knows what Dominick Fernow is saying but the guy sounds mighty pissed off about something. If he sounds angry on Black Vase in a schizophrenic kind of way, then on The Baron’s Chamber he sounds like he’s tearing chunks out of the walls and aching to destroy…well, anything, really. This is an emotionally nihilistic record (what else would you release on a label called Nihilist?) that you won’t find yourself listening to while sunning yourself on a white-sand beach. But the next time your boss pisses you off, or you get a parking ticket, throw yourself into The Baron’s Chamber and fantasise about smashing shit up.

Despite the vocals being consumed by everything else that’s happening here, I was surprised to learn that the lyrics come from the writings of a semi-obscure poet (are there poets who aren’t obscure?) named Jean Feraca, particularly her collection titled Crossing the Great Divide. According to this review of her work on Amazon, this isn’t the first time that Fernow has been inspired by Ms Feraca. And you know what? I really like that about Prurient, the way other creative practices inform Fernow’s own emotional outbursts. It makes me feel better about appreciating a record that is essentially just, well, noise.

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