Pink Priest — nee William Cody Watson — bangs ’em; he bangs ’em all. His crowded collages of torture-chamber music represent the purest form of drone expression, several elements rippling endlessly and effortlessly across liquid swathes of romantic, occasionally nightmarish rhythms, lamentations and effects swells.
His last effort, the full-length LP Honeysuckle, still festers in my mind like an itch that needs to be scratched until the skin is ripe and red or a boil pulsating so obnoxiously it should be popped, the waves of pus hitting like a tidal. Long story SHIT, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this goddamn tape.
Oh, how wrong I was to even doubt it. “Endless Love” is the antithesis of a release where you think to yourself, “I wish _____ wouldn’t have revealed THAT much.” So engrossed by these post-noise ramblings, am I, that I start asking questions, to no one in particular. For example: Is it possible that something inside you has caused you to prefer surface interactions, social-media face-fucking and texting to genuine emotional contact? Is there any way to connect with others on a visceral level these days? (Possible third question: Can I go now?)
I think young future-setters like Pink Priest score a point for expression. Sure, he’s not in my living room running around in a buffalo pelt and face paint, sounding out all the words for me, but he might as well be. This is personal, intimate music, the stuff of subconscious desires and greedy hearts. There’s cloudy vocoder, stuttering drum machines getting stabbed in the beat, oscillating sirens, digital chainsawing (if you don’t know what this means listen to the second half of “Feedback Eater” and get your ear drilled into like a carefully cut cord of plywood), a fair amount of tone-iffy vocalizing (not to mention sermonizing) and … well, too much more to even get into, really.
Racebannon‘s between-song DJ ‘skits’ from First There Was The Emptiness used to sound like this. Problem was, they only lasted a minute or so. I’ve also heard some Kranky folk tread in a similar direction, not to mention … well, there you go — I just can’t find many direct links here. Esoterica Landscapes 7 and Hair Police are always a safe bet, particularly the latter because they’ve covered so much ground over the years (and you could say the same of a gaggle of other veteran acts like Wolf Eyes, etc.), but there’s nothing quite like “Endless Love” and Priest’s other material. The one concession I’ll make is that there is so much happening in the experimental world it’s impossible to keep track of it all. Yes, there are sharper comparisons to be made, I just don’t have any of them up my sleeve at this moment.
I even feel a little violated when I’m done with it. I’m literally listening to a Foreigner 45 (“I Wanna Know What Love Is” b/w “Street Thunder,” if you must know) right now to cleanse my soul of all impurities.
What I wonder is where do we go from here? There are so few gaps in a lot of these tunes, I can’t even imagine their methods being expanded upon or taken to a next level. They are the level. A few of the tunes, particularly “Kids in California,” venture into less abstract terrain, but there remains a desperation you just don’t hear in Wavves or Blank Dogs. This music wants to be saved, and it wants to be saved now. And here I am, on the other end of the door with the key that can save them, and what happens? I fumble until I’m awake and it’s morning and time to get back to my throbbingly banal, often flat-out stupid daily life (and I actually have a job I enjoy and family I love; I can’t imagine what it’s like for most of the plebians, doomed to live a hollow existence under a moon of religious shame).
Even the shallowest listener would be able to discern the different between Pink Priest and most drone moaners. His efforts are always polished yet disgusting, honorable yet disgraceful. Nothing unfinished, nothing left out because it wouldn’t be prudent, no corners of the out-sound spectrum unmolested. If Priest wants to layer two — or three, and so on — voices overtop each other, he does it like an avant guard Latyrx; if Priest wants to combine two elements together, he doesn’t care if he has chemistry or not — he just does It, and It usually works.
LOOK AT ME, haha, rambling like a jackass! But I’m serious: These projects and people I write about, for no personal gain, are propping up the very fabric of my existence. Won’t you join me in rendering life that much better? See you in the steam room …