About three weeks ago I wrote about an album called 'Bermuda Drain' by Prurient and was pretty knocked out by it's use of controlled noise, dark ambience and texture. I did a little digging and found that Dominick Fernow had been releasing limited release cassettes under the name of Vatican Shadow for the past few years. Tracking these things down was a nightmare until I discovered his latest album was to be given a full release by those lovely folks over at Type Records. Naturally I was all over it, I mean - if this stuff was anything like 'Bermuda Drain' then I'd be a happy man.
The album in question is called 'Kneel Before Religious Icons' and referencing the sinister iconography associated with the Iraq war, all of his track titles - and much of his artwork - are gleaned from newsprint cuttings. Far removed from their original source material, and taken alongside Fernow’s bleak soundscapes, the imagery takes on a nightmarish and fevered intensity - a hellish Orwellian vision fittingly adorned with doublespeak and murky agendas.
This is absolutely nothing like Fernow's previous output, I couldn't help thinking a little bit of early Aphex Twin - those knackered drum tracks overlaid with beautiful textures and just a hint that things might take a strange turn at any minute.
I've played this album in every conceivable situation - half asleep, writing, in the car, in the bath - you name it. works great on headphones too. I have since spent hours tracking down pretty much everything else under the Vatican Shadow moniker and all of it is required listening.
UPDATE - Just found out that the entire Vatican Shadow back catalogue is up on iTunes and Amazon so I could have saved myself a fair bit of time but, hey - it was a worthwhile exercise in the end.