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Artist: Prinzhorn Dance School

Album: Prinzhorn Dance School

Label: DFA

Review date: Jan. 18, 2008


Prinzhorn Dance School - "Worker" (Prinzhorn Dance School)


It’s really strange, albeit not surprising in the least, that Prinzhorn Dance School’s output to this date has been somewhat marginalized. Hell, Dusted’s only getting around to covering it now, months after its release. Sorry boutcha. But art’s never an easy sell, and art is what they’re offering.

Really, if you want to get down to what dance music is at its most abstract terms, look to this couple. Dance music, as it has descended further from live, human hustle into the zeroes and ones of komputerwelt, have reinforced a particular notion that it’s the sounds produced that differentiate one record from another, and that the rhythms that drive these sounds, be they technical, ambient, funky, “deep,” jarring or sublime, are wholly taken for granted.

Here is an effort that is focused on rhythm, and nothing else. The desiccated, manmade plunkings and twangs and beatings of Tobin Prinz and Suzi Horn – who I have been led to believe are famous for other endeavors, and wish to keep their better-known identities concealed – speak to the absence of genre, to the pleasures of restraint, to the satisfaction behind discipline. Their methods of Situationist shout and Dadaist lyrical reflection (“Hamworthy Sports and Leisure Center / Is a sports and leisure center”) play off of their slow-to-midtempo pound, boasting clean lines and metronomic precision. Their methods of delivery reach back to the cash ‘n’ carry venom of the Fall or the drunken molestations of the Country Teasers, or even the bratty idealism of Red Monkey, but these are brief, formal clips into an ordered universe with a madness at play within, one which subtracts from passages before they can become mantras. Its skeletal range of musical metalanguage sublimates the impulse to go wild, eliciting a response despite its minimalistic action. By the time you make it to “No Books,” the logic locks into place, and you find your own thought processes tightening up and cutting themselves off, strangulated by the reasoning and lack thereof.

Can’t take it? More for me. As our editor Otis Hart mentioned, in five years, people are going to be selling their eyeteeth for these concepts. The cause of dance music is strengthened and furthered by exercises such as these, and the sinister, calculated atmosphere Prinzhorn Dance School forces into your lungs will spin the head that doesn’t rest.

By Doug Mosurock

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