Charged techno minimalism from Vatican Shadow.
When acclaimed noise stalwart Dominick Fernow (aka Prurient) established Vatican Shadow with 2011’s quadruple-tape album Kneel Before Religious Icons, it appeared amongst a throng of noise-adjacent techno releases. However, fusing the chugging rhythmic elements of Muslimgauze and the doomy textures he’d already perfected as Prurient, Fernow had chanced about something with staying power, and in the years since, Vatican Shadow has gone from strength to strength.
With releases notched up now on Modern Love, Blackest Ever Black, Type and his own Hospital Productions and Bed of Nails imprints, Fernow has spent time perfecting his sound, and he’s never been better. This month he released the stunning Media In The Service Of Terror album, bundled with an ambitious 100-page mini newspaper featuring clippings and art related to the project.
This very rare FACT mix capitalizes on Fernow’s latter-day experience performing at big-room techno venues but loses none of the grit of his early releases. Pounding loops drift in and out of each other, as the propulsive minimal 4/4 of the Panorama Bar collides with hissing tape recordings and the kind of grinding techno you’d expect to find in Birmingham circa 1996. It might not be extreme noise, but Fernow has never sounded so visceral.
Vatican Shadow is set to perform in Europe this summer, with show in Amsterdam, at Warehouse Elementenstraat, on August 6; at Berlin’s Berghain on August 13; and at Barcelona’s DNIT Caixaforum on August 24.