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Vatican Shadow is the Techno outfit from multi-media artist Dominick Fernow. Melodic loops and martial jagged rhythms juxtapose a sinister and seductive ambience. Vatican Shadow began in 2010, with concrete percussion, luscious synths, and metallic drums created by separating stems onto cassettes, which were then re-layered and collaged live. Weaving the cassettes into each other like one would use turntables, the soaring strings and mysterious broken rhythms were first heard on the 100-copy, cassette-only Byzantine Private CIA. Ten more of these limited releases would follow between 2011 and 2012 on Hospital Productions. The first of these tapes pressed onto wax was Kneel Before Religious Icons, quickly followed by the Iraqi Praetorian
Guard 12", which featured a masterful remix by Regis. Both received a rapturous reception, with critics and peers lauding Fernow’s attention to both death and the dance floor. After performing in Los Angeles with an uncompromising 6-tape deck setup and a debut European live show at Berghain, Vatican Shadow came into its own stepping outside the traditions of Techno while functioning within it. In the flesh Vatican Shadow brings a physicality and even celebratory energy
rarely seen in Techno offsetting the hypnotic ambient melodies of his tracks to a thundering drum assault – a true expression of the fear and fearlessness that fuels the music. Dominick Fernow, while more recently regarded for his explorations of dance music, is, of course, better known for his iconic noise project, Prurient. (‘Noise’ being defined by Fernow as “the freedom to explore personal obsession outside of audience and genre.”) Founded in 1997 simultaneously with his own label Hospital Productions, Prurient collaged and assembled diverse and unpredictable sadomasochistic feedback landscapes with signature vocals ranging from whispers to screams over
literally hundreds of underground cassettes and limited vinyl records that aroused a cult collector following.