Perturbator
Lustful Sacraments


4.0
excellent

Review

by Lacedaemonius USER (8 Reviews)
May 29th, 2021 | 53 replies


Release Date: 05/28/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Lustful Sacraments will cast a very long shadow, indeed.

This review came from a weird place, one I want to share with you because I believe that story will tell you more about the music than any review could. I was on a tear watching interviews of director Nicholas Winding Refn, debatably brilliant, probably pretentious, but unquestionably the consummate auteur. Yes, "consummate" is a good word to describe someone who echoes platitudes of his own devising, equal parts brilliant and equal parts bat*** like "the way I work is that I approach everything like pornography" and "art is an act of violence, it's meant to penetrate you". Hearing the madman's ramblings erstwhile intercut between striking scenes of movies that I still can't decide if I love or hate was when I knew I needed a shower. More importantly, I needed to write a review. A review of what? I don't do movies because <readers, put your best film critic ridicule in the comments!>. It must be an album, but what album? Whose album? Obviously the musician who plays Refn, someone so in tune that he could be temp music to any Refn movie. Someone equal parts inspired and exploitative. Sexploitative. Someone who would have the absolute gorm to say with a straight face something like "I always consider violence like bad pornography, you know there's nothing worse than bad pornography." and the brass balls to expose his sham career in a single stroke. "I used to make movies[...]one critic called them European. I thought they were ***." Who can walk that fine line between European and ***, between profundity and pornography―worse, bad pornography?

Of course, who other than the salacious sexualizer, PERTURBATOR? If you've seen a Refn flick and heard a PERTURBATOR LP―and if not I weep for the feast your senses have missed―you've no doubt pictured one on top of the other. It's inevitable. Even as I'm now writing this I can hear echoes of "Death of the Soul" in uncanny resemblance to the fight scene in Only God Forgives. This is well past chocolate and peanut butter. And what a stroke of luck that Lustful Sacraments should just so happen to be released! Truly serendipity. The difference, and the unfortunate thing (for my comparison, not the listener) is that whereas Refn has gradually retreated into the vagaries of self-indulgence, PERTURBATOR has really done just the opposite, emerging from a very indulgent, very European genre to become something more than ***.

I've always held that PERTURBATOR will be one of the few synthwave artists to really outlive the genre. He's good, obviously, really good, but it's more than that. The difference is that whereas his contemporaries have taken the lash and restraints of the genre as orthodox―even sacrosanct, PERTURBATOR's rejected and rebelled against this submissive position, something which I think is evident from looking at the progression of his work. There are two legs to this horse. First, look at the rate of spoken audio samples. Audio samples, particularly of the spoken variety have long been a crutch that hacks use in their music as a creativity substitute in the aural equivalent of telling, rather than showing. I should clarify this doesn't typically apply to preludes and finales which almost always exist outside the music, yet even there PERTURBATOR's mellowed. This leads to the second leg.

Most synthwave artists, like most directors, seem afraid to show. They mistake austerity for minimalism and paint a canvas washed out and colorless. PERTURBATOR had this problem early on when he was still shaking his fetters, but listening to his chronology glimmers of color are audible as early as his Nocturne EP. "Dangerous Days"―the track, perhaps also the LP―is arguably the first time he truly comes into his own. Find a peaceful room and put on your best pair of cans. Turn the volume up a little too high, close your eyes, and play some synthwave. Then listen to "Dangerous Days" and note the difference of depth. The richness of layers, the subtle changes to each refrain, the texture of it all. The difference is, fittingly enough, night and day. Even with the genre's 800lb gorillas it's still evident. Just compare Mega Drive's "I Am the Program" to PERTURBATOR's cover. Like Refn, PERTURBATOR has learned to take a dead and empty canvas, and paint it lurid with color. Unlike Refn, PERTURBATOR had the good sense to choose a medium in which rich aesthetics are the highest good, and a genre where they're perhaps the only good. The sex, drugs, and synth can't hurt either.

It should come as no surprise that Lustful Sacraments continues this trend. The album feels so individual that I'm hesitant to even call it a synthwave album, but I can say with absolute certainty that it's a PERTURBATOR album. Indeed, that should be the first descriptor used. Of course, that's not enough. What's really interesting is the gradual shift over the course of the LP. While saturated with atmosphere from the first moment―it is PERTURBATOR after all―it feels like it starts much different than it ends. It begins like the logical progression from the Dead Astronauts first half of B-Sides and Remixes - Vol I, hits its underture around "Death of the Soul", and from there transitions into the other half of the woefully short New Model we've been waiting so long for.

That second half is where the mood becomes palpable. I said before that the LP's saturated with atmosphere, but here it becomes stifling. Any other potential is choked out by the mood. If you've come to Lustful Sacraments looking for another "Future Club" or "Neo Tokyo", you'll be left disappointed. That just doesn't seem to be what PERTURBATOR's in for anymore. His gig is now officially writing the soundtrack to the cyberpunk dystopia that Intel and Google sold us, and you know what? That's good. I endorse it. I'm a little sad that I may not ever hear another "Death Squad" and I imagine many listeners might feel jilted that they were seemingly sold a bill of goods in The Uncanny Valley, but Lustful Sacraments is so deep, so real and imposing and there that I can't bring myself to feel bitter. Not even a little. Did I mention it's good?

That's perhaps the one point of irony. For an album with "lustful" in the name, Lustful Sacraments feels remarkably sexless. The whole thing is too busy wallowing in menace to allow itself the chance any lewd fun. I guarantee anyone putting on Lustful Sacraments in hopes of getting laid will be lucky to go to bed with anything other than a Nexus 6. And you know what? Maybe that's not so bad. I mean it is, it absolutely is, but let's not dwell on the reality. Let's consider this Refn gem instead: "I like fight movies because the fist is like a very sexual organ. It's like a combination of sex and violence." I don't know how much PERTURBATOR sees left in sex or violence, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that as long as him and crazy auteurs like Refn are out there painting these lusty images better than real life, maybe we're ready for this brave new world after all.



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user ratings (63)
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Lacedaemonius
May 29th 2021


60 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Finally got to do something by PERTURBATOR, and it feels like apotheosis.

In a fitting tribute to the subject I took a chance with something bold & brash. Now all that's left is to see whether my review is itself European, or just shit.

May adjust the rating as I listen to more of this or I may not. Numeric ratings are dumb anyway.

combustion07
May 29th 2021


8562 Comments


Refn made the Pusher trilogy correct? Damn I love all 3 of those. Possibly my favorite crime style series that I've seen over the years

Lacedaemonius
May 29th 2021


60 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good memory. I think that's the series that first brought him to prominence, as a matter of fact.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 29th 2021


1314 Comments


Great review, love your work.
What's your favourite refn and why is it Valhalla rising?
Is the second half of the neon demon as bad as the first? Honest question, I feel asleep

Lacedaemonius
May 29th 2021


60 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Valhalla Rising because he said "Probably the movie that evolved the most was Valhalla Rising because I decided I want to do a science fiction movie about halfway through."

On the other hand, when Only God Forgives debuted at Cannes after the show some lady said to him in a thick German accent "I think this movie takes place in the vagina, yes". Naturally, he replied "oh my god, I think you're right!"

After the stupid transition scene midway with all the triangles Neon Demon goes off the rails. I wish I could talk about all the ways it's completely mental but that would be spoiling the fun. I'll just drop this teaser: for out of nowhere and no reason there's a scene where we see one of the characters bleed like a liter of someone else's blood out her vagina. And that's why we watch. It's not about the story or whatever, it's about the lush cinematography and visual treat. No one does film like Refn does.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2021


1314 Comments


What a card he is

okie dokie, I'll have to have another crack at The Neon Demon when I'm not coming off an all-nighter, that does sound...fun? Yeah, fun.

Still yet to see Bronson, but I think I've seen all his work otherwise. Certainly an intriguing trajectory from Pusher to Only God Forgives

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 30th 2021


38099 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review [2]

I listened to this on Friday and liked it a lot. Never heard any other stuff from the artist.

Digging: Bruno Pernadas - Private Reasons

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2021


37688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Woah who is this STOOGE with a FEATURE you have come a long way from Various Artists landfill bitchdom and I am proud



this review is awesome and I love it and will check the album please may we be godparents of each other's postcoital walklings?

Digging: ZOC - PvP

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2021


14285 Comments


very nice feature agreed. keep it up.

Digging: Diskord - Degenerations

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2021


37688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

album is also, uh, great??? don't normally jam this kind of electronic, but it sounds like World Eater + gothic clean guitars? can fw big time, gonna check dat catalogue

Pikazilla
May 30th 2021


17030 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

His previous stuff is so much better. This has occasional flashes of brilliance, but overall, I felt this was a tired affair.

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2021


37688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Nice nice will czzzk

botb
May 30th 2021


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually think this is his best yet as a cohesive album haha

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
May 30th 2021


2404 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very nice review, may have to check this!

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2021


37688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Hmm interesting, just spun I Am the Night a couple of times and it is p great but I definitely prefer this. Appreciate the heavier mood and the rev's point about using audio samples (or not) came into my head several times

Lacedaemonius
May 30th 2021


60 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well I'm chuffed! The first of many featured I'm sure.

Ok Jonny but you'll have to find me one first.

Lacedaemonius
May 30th 2021


60 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn surprised how many people have been sleeping on PERTURBATOR. This actually isn't a very good LP to get into his work imo and tbh I Am the Night isn't that great either. It just has the good fortune to have the best Album name and opening of anything ever, but instead that listen to:

First half of The Uncanny Valley up to "Venger" to see how heavy he can go. Everyone should hear "Death Squad" before they die

Sexualizer EP for something fun and different but varied, good light listening after Uncanny Valley

First half and arguably all of B Sides and Remixes Vol I. His B-sides unironically better than most artists' LPs.

Finally all of Dangerous Days to get a full view of him at his best. "Dangerous Days" is like Jazz Odyssey if only Jazz Odyssey was (really, really) good.

Bonus round Nocturne EP is really moody if you're into that



Anything not on his bandcamp is on his label's at https://blood-music.bandcamp.com/

pyroflare77
May 30th 2021


80 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Glad the style shift worked and wasn't an embarrassment like Gost's Valediction, but this doesn't really grab me. Atmosphere is on point, but a lot of it really doesn't go anywhere. If he sticks with this gothic sound, I sure hope this album is the Terror 404 where he's finding his footing.

Hatework
May 31st 2021


145 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That artwork tho

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
May 31st 2021


24533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Always thought Blood Music was Toby Driver's label for some reason, didn't know it was Pert B's label.



Great review dude, jamming this now.

Digging: Kultivator - Barndomens Stigar



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