Rainbow Mirror traffics in something between dark ambient and noise, straying from the ear-bleeding heights of classic Prurient albums like Cocaine Death while also forgoing the melodic aspect of recent work. You might imagine the trio sitting around some nighttime campfire, absorbing the silence—and the occasional flickers of noise—around them. The subdued creep of tracks like "Walking On Dehydrated Coral" recalls some of Hospital Productions' earliest days, when the emphasis was more on contact mics and raw texture than anything resembling songcraft. Rainbow Mirror's first section is its most alienating, with organs and synthesizers curling around pockets of noise and rhythm, all with little discernible structure.
The flashes of lucidity occur in Rainbow Mirror's dense middle, among a thicket of 15- to 20-minute-long tracks. "Okinawan Burial Vaults," a major highlight, is a throbbing march flecked by feedback and distorted vocals. "Cruel Worlds" features bits of banjo fighting through high frequencies and bursts of noise. The third and final section focuses on pure drone. "Naturecum" occasionally sounds like a plane flying overhead. The two-part "Buddha Strangled In Vines" is notable, too, but it riffs on a short motif for so long that, towards the end of its 29-minute duration, it can be almost maddening.
The hints at Buddhism reveal something about the approach here: this is meditative, trance-like music meant to instil a mood or feeling. The album's scope goes far beyond any Prurient record in length and style, yet the LP's mood is also oddly understated, shrinking down from the cathartic heights of, say, Frozen Niagara Falls or the pure anger of Bermuda Drain.
Rainbow Mirror is the kind of record you'd dip in and out of rather than listening all the way through, which would be a Herculean task. (Its length was too extreme even for the extreme music community.) But it seems an apt way to mark 20 years of this mercurial, confrontational project and the label that houses it. The noise of Prurient might have receded into the background, but Fernow's defiance has not. At over three hours of half-lidded drone and ambient, Rainbow Mirror is one of the quietest Prurient albums, yet also one of the most demanding.
Tue / 9 Jan 2018
01. Barefoot God
02. Walking On Dehydrated Coral
03. Midnight Kabar
05. Falling In The Water
06. Okinawan Burial Vaults
07. April Fools Day Aspect Sinister
08. Cruel Worlds
10. Blue Kimono Over Corpse
11. Path Is Short
12. Buddha Strangled In Vines (Part One)
13. Buddha Strangled In Vines (Part Two)
14. Lazarus Flamethrower Sleepwalk
15. Buddhist State