Vatican Shadow – Media In The Service of Terror [HOS472]

Dominick Fernow presents another dark and confronting opus entitled Media In The Service Of Terror. Read between the lines of the titles then listen and learn via these harsh textural abrasions on offer. The sombre and brutalist opener “Ziad Jarrah Studied Mathematics” sets the scene well, the tunnelling slo-mo techno of “Take Vows” is great and follows the same path as Vactrol Park or L’estasi Dell’oro have in recent times. “Interrogation Mosaic” shows Fernow still has the knack for some chilling imaginary soundtracks while “More Of The Same (Tunisia)” has the classic outsider techno sound that Fernow has honed on previous efforts like Remember Your Black Day or Ghosts Of Chechnya.

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Vatican Shadow – Media In The Service of Terror [HOS472]

VA – Infrastructure Facticity [INF022]

Function & Inland’s Infrastructure introduces its next milestone – Facticity. A 4×12” vinyl box set, CD and digital compilation featuring 15 tracks by key artists, label colleagues and new faces. Function, Inland, Campbell Irvine, Post Scriptum, Cassegrain & Tin Man, Rrose, Efdemin, Vatican Shadow, Silent Servant, Blue Hour, Steve Bicknell and Cleric all feature, spinning a narrative ranging from lush, ambient electronics and post-club diversions, to contemporary club techno and back again. Carefully curated as an album, Facticity represents the foundations of what Infrastructure stands for – a manifesto for 2016 and beyond.

vinyl / CD

VA – Infrastructure Facticity [INF022]

Vatican Shadow – Death Is Unity With God [LOVE100]

This double LP album arrives through Modern Love and features a handpicked selection of tracks from the Death Is Unity With God cassette box set Dominick Fernow aka Vatican Shadow issued on his own Hospital Productions label last year. 12 tracks featured here are a balanced blend of broken, ice-cold techno and finely calibrated drone pieces backed by subtle percussive patterns. There’s also plenty of his more raucous beat thrashing and even a few moments of nostalgia.

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Vatican Shadow – Death Is Unity With God [LOVE100]

Function / Vatican Shadow – Games Have Rules [HOS425]

Here’s something to excite those of an experimental techno bent: a collaborative set from veteran producer Function and drone/industrial sort Vatican Shadow. Given the qualities’ of both producers, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Games Have Rules is rather good. Like any good collaboration, it tempers the more outlandish aspects of each producer’s work, delivering a set bristling with icy textures, bittersweet ambience, dreamy atmospherics and, perhaps most pleasing of all, sprawling techno (see the brilliant “Bejewelled Body”). Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the crystalline mood of “A Year Has Passed” (reminiscent of Selected Ambient Works era Aphex Twin) to the murky textures and spooky electronics of “The Nemesis Flower”.

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Function / Vatican Shadow – Games Have Rules [HOS425]

Hipodrome’s 2013 Review (Part 3 of 3)

Here is the third and final part of my 2013 review, featuring my favorite albums released last year. In the first part of the review, the preferences of hipodrome followers are shown, according to the number of click and stars. In the second part, I presented some of my favorite events and performances from last year.

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Now here it comes the serious business. Because there are so many good albums and different genders, I took the same approach as in the 2012’s review.

The list is covering all the genders that I like and post on The Hipodrome Of Music, so I came up with no more than 20 gender lists, going from house to techno, disco and funk to electro and new wave …

Here we go.

Continue reading “Hipodrome’s 2013 Review (Part 3 of 3)”

Hipodrome’s 2013 Review (Part 3 of 3)

Vatican Shadow – It Stands To Conceal [HOS369LP]

In it’s third year of operations Vatican Shadow became an unavoidable issue on the international noise and techno agenda. Following Type, Blackest Ever Black and Modern Love editions, Dominick Fernow aka Prurient aka Vatican Shadow ploughed forth with his project, resulting in three tapes ‘Jordanian Descent’, ‘Ghosts Of Chechnya’ and ‘Atta’s Apartment Slated For Destruction’, collected here on vinyl for the first time. Disc one features both sides of his extended ‘Jordanian Descent’ meditations, some of his longest in this guise and given to incredible, unfurling loop repetitions; Disc two holds ‘Ghosts Of Chechnya’, one of his most concise and varied issues, eight tracks wide and tending towards gloomy, urgent, cinematic arabesques including the outstanding ‘Voices Came Crackling Across A Motorola Hand-Held Radio’; Disc three comprises the four parts of his amazing ‘Atta’s Apartment Slated For Destruction’ including the impeccable darkness of ‘Once This Fire Gathers Strength’.

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Vatican Shadow – It Stands To Conceal [HOS369LP]

Covered In Sand – Heaven’s Gate Suicides [MIRA003]

Shifted unveils yet another cloaked figure with his Covered in Sand project, the first release on the Avian sub-label Mira following two impressive turns from the mysterious Bleaching Agent. The title track to Heavens Gates Suicides is saturated in overdrive with cloudy Regis and BMB influences evident. Vatican Shadow remixes “Heavens Gates Suicides” adding subtle musicality to his version, almost throwing the track out of sync with it’s awkward snare hits – if you can call them that. “Russian Gold & Blood Diamonds” is like a beatless Severed Heads piece pulling desperately at your heartstrings while “Pale Skin” is another electronically shambled scuzz of hollowed hisses and jittery sound design.

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Covered In Sand – Heaven’s Gate Suicides [MIRA003]

Hipodrome’s 2012 Review (Part III)

Finally we are at the last part of the 2012 review. In the first part of our review, the preferences of our followers are shown, according to the number of click and stars. Top 3 albums of the years, top 3 EPs, compilations and mixes loved by our followers can be seen here.

In the second part, I presented some of my favorite events and performances from last year. For more details go here.

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Continue reading “Hipodrome’s 2012 Review (Part III)”

Hipodrome’s 2012 Review (Part III)

Vatican Shadow – Ornamented Wall [LOVE080]

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“Ornamented Walls” is the most intense, brutal and, in many senses, most substantial work from Dominick Fernow’s Vatican Shadow project yet. Released to coincide with his first tour of Europe, the album incorporates the live mix rehearsals of “Operation Neptune Spear” with tracks made in their aftermath, recorded straight to tape and mastered by Matt Colton at Air Studios. Anyone familiar with Fernow’s live set-up will recognize the distinct nature of this material — making use of stems and partial tracks separated into a cassette system which is then re-layered and mixed, effected with electronic processing. In short — Fernow uses his tape machines like turntables in a mix, weaving a hazy and intuitive narrative of sounds that never quite head in the direction you expect, all imbued with an almost feral attitude that’s exhilarating to witness, their limitations and their mechanical machine qualities used to devastating effect. Side A features all three parts of “Operation Neptune Spear,” originally made available in a measly edition of 17 cassettes and sold at the first-ever Vatican Shadow live show in L.A. back in May 2012. Side B features an additional 25 minutes of previously-unreleased work made in the aftermath of the show and using the same set-up, including an astonishing revision of “Cairo Is a Haunted City,” dis-assembled and re-wired, lending it a shortwave quality that’s nothing short of revelatory.

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Vatican Shadow – Ornamented Wall [LOVE080]

Vatican Shadow – Ghosts Of Chechnya [HOS361]

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The heavily sought after “Ghosts Of Chechnya” cassette finally sees a digital release. Vatican Shadow is unstoppable at the moment, his alchemistic beats and military themes marking him out as a singular talent. This LP champions the sound of Vatican Shadow, with its dubbed-out, reverberant noises, that make him stand out among his peers. The aptly named “Voices Came Crackling Across A Motorola Hand-Held Radio” is another beast, where chugging kick drums meet ominous pads and crackling static. “Chechnya’s Ghosts Loom Large In Death Of Former Spy” is another fine example of his creative ability to mould techno into any shape he sees fit; but it’s the filling spaces made up of eerie melodies and stripped beats, like “Snipers As A Breed Tend To Be Superstitious” which make his recordings so enchanting. Highly recommended as usual.

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Vatican Shadow – Ghosts Of Chechnya [HOS361]

Vatican Shadow – September Cell [NAILS001]

New 12″from Vatican Shadow on Dominick Fernow’s own, newly minted Bed of Nails imprint. Operating from his recently consecrated L.A. compound – the label will focus on his reorientation towards industrial dancefloor rhythms and seductively isolated electronics. Fernow christens the label with ‘September Cell’, a four track 12″ loaded with some of his most direct dancefloor assaults to date. The A-side breaks down into two parts: ‘September Cell (The Storm)’ pistons a martial machine coda, all hollowed Industrial percussion and gloaming synths shot through with visceral traces of his power electronics; while ‘September Cell (The Punishment)’ realigns the rhythm with a rigid swing and insurgent, caustic swipes of noise timed with exacting accuracy. On the flip, ‘Cairo Is A Haunted City’ opens with a nightvision panorama of furtive pads before rapid-fire steppers’ rhythms find formation under cover of pitch blackness. ‘One Day He Heard The Call’ resolves the label’s first session with a bleakly evocative vision polluted by Vangelis-like synth-brass flares and toxic synths…

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Vatican Shadow – September Cell [NAILS001]

Vatican Shadow – Kneel Before Religious Icons [TYPE105]

Dominick Fernow might be best known for his industrial incantations under the Prurient moniker, but in recent months his attention has shifted towards a different outlet. Fernow’s interest in electronic music (from the clamorous grind of Muslimgauze to the recently defunct Sandwell District imprint) has been well documented, and it comes to a frothy head with his Vatican Shadow project. Revolving around themes gleaned from Iraq war propaganda and yellowing stacks of newspaper clippings, the tracks on ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ are a perfect representation of Fernow’s modus operandi. Behind a wall of tape hiss, drum machine rhythms beat out memories of early Ministry and AFX while sickly FM synthesizer pads crawl and heave into the abyss. Like much of Fernow’s output prior to this, the emphasis is on society’s darker crevices, but Vatican Shadow is steeped in an alarming mystery and sulfuric smoke that is sure to surprise recent converts.

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Vatican Shadow – Kneel Before Religious Icons [TYPE105]

Vatican Shadow – Iraqi Praetorian Guard [BLACKEST008]

Blackest Ever Black presents a much needed vinyl pressing of two tracks from Vatican Shadow’s debut cassette release, backed with Regis remix. For anyone familiar with the original 2010 tape or mp3 release, we should say this record sounds radically different, thanks in no small part to a pedigree mastering to vinyl by Matt Colton at London’s Air facilities. The haunting synth washes, grinding bass distortion and chopper blades of ‘Cairo Sword Unsheathed’, and the subharmonic bass of ‘Gunmen With Silencer’ are illuminated with a cold hard light, while their physical shape feels viscerally intimated. Regis transforms ‘Church Of All Images’ from Vatican Shadow’s  ‘Kneel Before Religious Icons’ LP, adding another vividly compelling episode to his important cache.

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Vatican Shadow – Iraqi Praetorian Guard [BLACKEST008]