Lustmord: Purifying Fire

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To give a little backstory, I was first exposed to the Tarkovsky film Stalker several years ago. I’m not going to discuss the film or reveal any details about it, but suffice it to say that I found the film to be … Mesmerizing. About a year or two later I found an album by Brian “Lustmord” Williams and Robert Rich entitled Stalker. I didn’t know at the time whether this album was, in fact, related to the film or not but the track names seemed evocative of it … I gave it a chance.

The album turned out to be largely ambient, but in a good way. Of course, it didn’t compare to the film, but it seemed to point towards the experience of watching it in a way that I could relate to. Since then, even though I am typically not inclined to listen to purely “ambient” music, I’ve been interested in hearing more from both Brian Williams and Robert Rich.


I picked up Purifying Fire as an experiment. I enjoyed the Stalker album that Brian Williams collaborated with Rich on, but more than a bit of my positive experience listening to that album was thinking about the film. Would my positive feelings hold?

I listened through the first three tracks without much notice … But the fourth track, Black Star, is incredible. Listening to it for the first time… There is a genuine sense of tension and release created by the sounds. I hestitate to even think of this as an “ambient” track as the various sounds create a vocalization — If not actual language, then something more primal. The sound is deep, oppressive, and summons up a variety of images that seem to be almost narrative.

The fifth track, Permafrost, follows up in a different note — An extremely short track for this album, it seems more like an instrumental piece than something strictly “ambient.” It reminds me a lot of Philip Glass in the use of traditional instrumentation combined with experimental sounds.

Since that first listen through I must have listened to the album twenty times already. The first few re-listens were simply to get to Black Star to re-experience that chest-clenching anxiety I feel when listening to the song. But as I did so I began to appreciate the way the first three tracks seemed to build up into the climax of the album. The song Deep Calls to Deep seemed to me to harbor the first intonations of what would come later, abating some for the follow-up track Deep Calls to Dub before returning in full force.

A few days ago I went out in search to learn more about Lustmord — What were other peoples’ assessment of this album in relation to his other work? I was surprised to learn that this album Purifying Fire, is merely a collection of previously unreleased work. That makes me intensely curious about what the quality of his other albums must be like. I was also surprised to find out that he initially did soundtrack work on the game Planescape: Torment (although his work was eventually not used). All in all I have to say that I enjoyed this album even more than I did the Stalker album, and will definitely be on the lookout for any other Lustmord releases that I can find.

One Response

  1. I’ve heard a couple of Lustmord recordings and enjoy them a great deal. They, Robert Rich and Steve Roach are all over eMusic. I see they have Stalker as well.

    Aixata’s Moribund album is similar though a bit more disturbing.

    Good stuff, all.

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