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Prurient
Through The Window Ryan Alexander Diduck , March 1st, 2013 13:16

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Concluding her benchmark book The Virtual Window, the late cinema scholar Anne Friedberg recalled with sadness the suicide of philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In 1995, after more than a decade of suffering from a suffocating pulmonary disease, Deleuze threw himself through the window of his Paris apartment. I often wonder what might have been going through his mind between that initial launch and the final impact. I imagine that especially Deleuze recognized the irony of his fatal violation of the window's restrictions, an abysmal liberation from that which frames what we may see and not touch, observe but not participate in, bear witness to yet never fully know.

Prurient's Through The Window, a three-cut techno tour-de-force released this month on the Blackest Ever Black imprint, is at once limiting and liberating. It's a prequel of sorts, written during the same sessions as 2011's Bermuda Drain, a recording that set Prurient's work apart from concurrent fare, and sparked Dominick Fernow's alliance with co-conspirator and BEB label boss Kiran Sande. Through The Window's bookend tracks are substantially lengthy, and profoundly fearsome. Compositionally, they mimic the flows of codified data: these epics stream along for a time, change inconsequentially on the surface; but closer audition reveals how their features repeat and differ in subtle and unfolding ways. Fernow frames cinemascope panoramas that apparently fill the sonic field until, abruptly, another window opens.

Its title track slides in through a cracked machinic foursquare pane with déclassé drones and seductive mumblings, wedged open further by a glossy minor key synth phrase that accompanies the song's first steps onto dance floor anthemic terrain. ‘You Show Great Spirit', however, is the glistening masterwork here, evidence that Prurient doesn't just recite the lingo of lower, classier techno; he's whetted his own dialect. This record may appear an exercise in obsessive repetition, to those familiar with Fernow's work as Vatican Shadow and elsewhere. Obsession and repetition then become objects of inquiry and the subjects themselves: obsession and repetition serve as both the music's window and its frame.

Scholar of new media N. Katherine Hayles sees valuable promise in the "structural affinities" between computer code, trauma, and the background programmes that operate behind our windows of awareness, so to speak. In her 2008 essay Traumas Of Code, Hayles writes that code can act as a "conduit" through which to dispel disturbances, "without being trapped within the involuntary re-enactments and obsessive repetitions that typically constitute the acting out of traumatic experience." Fernow's formidable oeuvre signals a wider cultural turn amongst forward-moving electronic music toward meaningful obsession and repetition. Chants, incantations, and mantras are invoked in circles, in cycles, repeated ad infinitum, language translating into pure code. Beyond a politics, poetics, and erotics, Through The Window represents a theraputics of reiteration.

More and more, windows shape our everyday experience - the ongoing fenestration of the world. Perception draws perspective through the architectural window; we watch as we glide past from the windows of vehicles in motion, noses smudged against the glass. We conceive of everything we do on our computing machines as taking place in windows. With their dumb process of framing - itself an agentic act that is never-not contrived by human hands, for human senses - windows simultaneously produce positive and negative space, calling attention to what's within and without them. Never mind the doors of perception, to truly explore the limits of consciousness, we must go through windows.

aaron.
Mar 1, 2013 6:26pm

This record is pretty astounding. Fernow just gets better and better, in my opinion. All I can say is that I'm glad I insta-purchased it before I saw that Ryan Alexander Diduck deigned to write a review of it. If I wanted to read a graduate reading list I'd go back to grad school. Although on that note - can I make some buck passing off PhD notes when I start next year? Ta.

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potion lords
Mar 1, 2013 6:47pm

It may be interesting to note that the pill on the cover is medicine for a urinary tract infection.

The reviewer may want to add a few more paragraphs of superfluous pseudo philosophy on that subject.

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give me a break
Mar 2, 2013 2:04am

you two are ridiculous. nice review, ryan.

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aaron.
Mar 2, 2013 5:15pm

In reply to give me a break:

Yeah, we're ridiculous, when a review opens with an anecdote about Deleuze's suicide, and then dives headfirst into several sentences of gnomic (or should that be nomadic?) mille plateaux bullshit. We're ridiculous. Ryan's reviews are mostly a condensed precis of his latest film theory reading - it very rarely actually talks about the music itself. You get hardly any actual comment or enlightenment as to the release's content itself - you know, why people read reviews - and instead it just layers it thick with paragraphs of self-satisfied grad school onanism. "New media scholar Katherine Hayles"? Really? Why not throw in 250 words on the history of medieval defenestration, as well? Maybe in a long thoughtpiece, some pseud's corner Black Sky Thinking feature, but in a review? This review says nothing about the record. It's just the 'reviewer', as per, copying out his recent research notes. "Nevermind the doors of perception, to truly explore the limits of consciousness, we must go through windows". Well fuck me. That's one for the quotation book. There's just so much to question here - if you actually want to bother engaging with the dirge - that it seems churlish to even try. Music turning towards "meaningful obsession and repetition" What does that even mean? As opposed to the meaningless repetition of all techno-oriented music prior to 2013? Make that the "lower, classier" techno (whatever that means) of previous years. But then again, this release opens with "déclassé drones"... drones with a low, blighted socio-political status? But wait, Fernow's work doesn't recite the lower, classier techno, I thought? But then at the end you say his music is "beyond a politics..."? Aaah my head hurts!

I'm sure all of this sententious prose seems very impressive, but it's the sort of thing you'd circle with a green pen if one of your students wrote it, with a raised eyebrow. It reads literally like he has spent the last 3 months trying to get his head around post-structuralism, affecting the portentous style of French theorists. I actually feel as though there's a germane point buried in all the psychobabble somewhere, too, w/r/t Fernow's work and its "therapeutics", or its purifying intention. But, really, all that was already said (just as poetically, but much better) in Calvert's Vatican Shadow live review. Sorry for all the haterade, but I thought the acerbic response to the Hecker/Lopatin review would have at least curbed this tripe.

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Chris
Mar 4, 2013 9:43am

In reply to aaron.:

Agree with you on the reviewer, straight out of the John Doran "aren't I clever" school of hack self centred journalism. As per usual with Diduck I have no idea as to the merits of the music on offer. The Quietus has a few decent reviewers, Diduck isn't one of them.

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aaron.
Mar 4, 2013 5:28pm

In reply to Chris:

I have no problem with a reviewer/website wanting to take an 'intellectual' or culturally high-brow approach to music - in fact, if anything, it's what music journalism badly needs thesedays. I don't want to come across like a philistine, or some blunt anti-intellectual, who wrinkles his nose at long words and abstract loftiness. However, it would be nice if it actually made sense. Hell, I've done the grad school thing, so I guess I'm in that more privileged minority that Diduck tailors his abstruse reviews for... and it still just isn't enjoyable to read. A confused cloud of pure obfuscation, limned with a silver-lining of self-satisfaction.

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Alain Badiou
Mar 4, 2013 5:52pm

Fucking Deleuze.

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John Doran
Mar 5, 2013 8:58am

In reply to aaron.:

Aaron: I find this hard to believe. I'm actually very poorly educated compared to you and I found this very easy to understand and digest. The concepts that the writer mentions are quite simple and have direct relevance to the music. But more to the point: we don't owe you anything. There isn't a cover charge to read this website. We don't operate from behind a pay wall. It's really none of your business how we decide to write about music. Now that you know you don't like R A-D's writing I suggest you avoid it in future given that you obviously don't have the kind of thick skin that some very sensitive, very entitled people with a lot of time on their hands require to read record reviews in comfort without it spoiling their entire week.

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Chris
Mar 5, 2013 10:06am

In reply to aaron.:

The irony is that you use words that Diduck may wish to use yet I find your musings totally comprehensible, unlike his. It must have something to do with how one approaches the subject matter and what message one wishes to convey.

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aaron.
Mar 6, 2013 1:10am

In reply to John Doran:

That's fine. Pseud on, good people.

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Jon2me
Apr 8, 2013 4:51pm

Prurient songs are about fucking

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