For many artists who have careers that span more than an album or two, there are often various lines visible in their work - a line from origin to current form, lines between different paradigms of sound, lines across which fans of different manifestations of the artist will not cross. Prurient in 2011 is drawing just such lines, and Time’s Arrow proves this point explicitly. Here we bear witness to Dominick Fernow’s long running project once again evolving, unfolding, permutating. Taking a bold step away from the sounds which drew attention his way in the formative years, he is clearly moving towards something new, something still taking form in the present moment. Unsettling perhaps for followers of Prurient’s former incarnations, but extremely important for the longevity and vitality of a determinedly restless and inventive musician as Fernow has consistently proved himself to be.
If noise music, the genre to which Prurient has most often been assigned, is about confrontation, exploration and defying expectations, this release measures up on all counts. Yet, much of what made past work identifiable as noise music - harsh textures, screams washed in seas of static, clanging unidentified percussion - is now gone. Those elements which formerly provided a valuable counterpoint to the harsh din of Prurient’s core sound - buried melodies, passages of relative serenity, and occasional spoken word bits - have come to the fore. A sense of naked clarity and uncomfortable intimacy now brings the listener closer to the world as described the music, rather than pushing away the would be voyeuristic observer. This is best illustrated on the title track of the EP, "Times Arrow", where a glistening synth melody lays atop an undeniably dancey beat, over which a fragmented, but clearly discernible narrative is intoned. Sinister in character to be sure, but also clearly without any element that could be described as overtly aggressive.
Though a newly formed voice of Prurient is clearly prominent on this release, a line drawn from the past to the present is visible throughout. As the EP progresses echoes of Fernow’s assaultive past explosions creep steadily to the forefront, culminating in the furious blizzard of the closing instrumental version of "Slavery in the Bahamas". This is not a calculated reassurance for fans of old that Fernow is still capable of his former feats of unbridled harshness, but rather a reminder that no one can fully escape the past, no matter however continual the process of regeneration and renewal might be - the line of time connects the then to now and onwards.