Boomkat Product Review:
By Pitchfork's reckoning Dominick Fernow's discography now stands at over 150 releases long - so it isn't without much consideration that we say that 'Frozen Niagara Falls' is his defining, most exploratory and ultimately rewarding work to date.
It's an epic undertaking too - spanning three LP's and including over an hour and a half of music, veering from the surprisingly contemplative destroyed-folk of 'Greenpoint' and 'Christ Among The Broken Glass', to painfully blissful, Vangelis-esque night-scapes ('Jester In Agony'), to decimated noise ('A Sorrow With A Braid', 'Falling Mask') - and many many points in between.
Narrated by Fernow's own highly-presonalised vocals (arcing from indecipherable screech to startling, almost translucent spoken word), by the end of its 90+ minutes you feel worn out, exhilarated, withdrawn, pummelled and ultimately comforted by the sheer scope and ambition on display. It's an album that finds Fernow as far removed from an artist resting on their laurels as you could imagine - there are no cheap thrills on offer, nor is the narrative designed to startle.
In many ways, it encapsulates the all-too-often suppressed urges of young producers to just go wherever the mood, ideas and technology will allow without compromise - yet bolstered by the experience (musical, and otherwise) of someone who has been at it long enough for us to expect them to have long stopped trying. 2011's excellent 'Bermuda Drain' was a bit of a game-changer for Fernow - embracing more overtly composed, structured electronic signatures with lyrical content and delivery that were at the polar opposite.
Further - the Vatican Shadow releases that surfaced around the same time for labels such as Blackest Ever Black, Modern Love, Type and Fernow's own Hospital Productions brought him into the sightline of an audience that was largely made up of people who had never heard a noise record in their life. This slow-easing into Fernow's unique, conflicted dystopia has laid the ground well for 'Frozen Niagara Falls' - an album that will most likely be listened to by a far broader demographic than any in Fernow's career so far.
There is an assured, obsessive, hungry quality to this material that is certain to elicit an obsessive following from both Fernow's long-standing noise worshippers and his more recent, electronically-minded converts - and yet it never feels overly knowing or contrived. On tracks such as 'Cocaine Daughter' this confluence is perfectly realised; drawing us in with spacious, warm pads riding alongside a doubled-up and grotesque narrative. It's majestically beautiful and yet somehow desperately sad.
Like the rest of the album, it feels genuinely without compromise - something that on its own would have been enough to have us singing its praises endlessly. As it is, it also happens to be one of the most engrossing and complex albums in recent memory - regardless of genre - so whether you've heard any Prurient albums before or not, we urge you to give it some of your time.