Twenty-some-years after he made his final recordings, a Henry Flynt revival of sorts began in the early "aughts" with a series of releases on Locust. Purified by the Fire continues the label's on-going campaign to bring the to light the recordings of this hard-to-classify musician and thinker who has been called both a visionary and a pretender -- and it will likely do little to settle the debate. Purified presents a single extended track, nearly 42-minutes-long, recorded in late 1981 with Flynt on electric violin and C.C. Hennix on pandit pran nath tambura. Indian music purists will no doubt be horrified, or perhaps merely amused, by Flynt's brand of hillbilly raga. But, of course, he's not even trying to play by the book. However, Purified does start out conservatively enough: the tambura meditatively humming along and Flynt playing in a calm, contemplative mode. But before too long, his playing becomes more ecstatic and frenzied, plucking and hammering the strings with his bow. The tone of the violin becomes overdriven and blown out as he saws away. The glissandos take on oozy-woozy, singsongy quality. Blues and old-timey melodies are freely quoted, though never in a too-obvious way, and by track's end, Flynt is playing with the focused abandon of a true wild-eyed, shine-high porch fogey of the Appalachians.
AllMusic Review by Jason Nickey