The room begins to get fuzzy as the electronic disco beat takes the place of your own heartbeat. There’s a sense of both exhilaration and claustrophobia as bodies lean into each other all around you. It’s every man for himself on the dance floor. A feeding frenzy, brought on by the smell of sweat, blood, and pheromones.
Don’t show fear.
The beasts in leather sense fear. The feed on it.
The bodies around you begin to morph into a giant beast with protruding fangs, twisted claws, and a razor laugh. Your drink must have been spiked, or maybe it was the ether-soaked rag you cupped to your face for 10 seconds too long.
The beat gets stronger.
It pulls you towards the center of the room where strobe lights turn us all into demons of our own design. A seedy insurrection against common decency that lasts as long as an extended remix.
The beast gets stronger.
It pulls you towards the center of Hell. A Hell wired for sound and degradation. Four on the floor, Freddy Cruiser. Just one more drink, one more dance, and one sniff of that rag. Maybe for the last time.
Pentagram Home Video has made a name for themselves as the premier purveyors of dread-soaked, acid-burnt techno. Slow motion dance floor soundtracks for specters and Goths; outcasts and ketamine philistines. They’ve scored films not yet seen by the human eye with stories steeped in science fiction, the occult, and ghost stories from parallel realms.
On album number four PHV uses William Friedkin’s 1980 film Cruising as inspiration. Who’s Here? I’m Here, You’re Here is an acid-soaked odyssey through pre-Disney-fied New York City and its hardcore leather scene. A masterpiece sewn together by seedy synths and analog acid house. Discos that reside in layers of Hell even Dante isn’t familiar with. This is the album Pentagram Home Video was building towards. It’s their grand theater of the macabre, recorded to tape and singed with whiskey, poppers, and cigarette smoke.
Who’s Here? I’m Here, You’re Here seems to work in three modes: brooding dread, anticipation, and ecstatic release. Each carry with them their own sonic proclivities and shadowy nuance. “Exterior/Night l” bubbles and moves in claustrophobic waves of synth. It’s the warning shot before you step into the world of Freddy Cruiser. Despite the unease you continue on and “Who’s Here? I’m Here, You’re Here” is the slow walk thru the metal door that leads you into the maze of decadence. Leather-bound creatures slink in and out of sight eyeing you as drinks seem to materialize right in front of you. Inhibitions disintegrate as your head gets lighter and the dance floor beckons. Welcome to “Private Club 837”. Pure acid house mixed with sweat, propulsion, and body heat, “Private Club 837” is the powerful grand statement. An epic trip that pulsates with rhythmic danger.
We visit clubs like “Eagle’s Nest” and “Cock Pit” throughout our Homer-like odyssey through leather club nightlife as we dodge shady and not-so shady characters. Some looking to dance, get high, and more; while there could be a killer in our midst. “Precinct Nite” gives way to the dark shades of “Leaving The Bar”, a PHV classic vibe. All oozing dread and shadowy intent.
I’m sure the general consensus is that The Exorcist is William Friedkin’s greatest horror achievement, but I’d tend to disagree. Cruising was horror on another level. It’s the horror we do to ourselves. It’s the horror of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, grabbing you when you least expect it. When you’re at your most vulnerable; when all defenses are down. It was a leather-clad nightmare on a late night dance floor. Who better to reimagine the musical world that inhabited the film other than Pentagram Home Video? Who’s Here? I’m Here, You’re Here is a masterpiece in seedy exploration and chemical-fueled erotic nightmares.
Who’s Here? I’m Here, You’re Here is available now thru Death Waltz Originals and Mondotees.
8.5 out of 10