After bringing Container, Mountains, Bee Mask and more to these shores in recent months, Misery Beat are proud to present the first Irish appearance by Vatican Shadow, the latest manifestation of Dominick Fernow's unique creative impulse.
Vatican Shadow is the 'Militant Religious Industrial' outfit from multi-media artist Dominick Fernow. In 1997 Fernow founded the Hospital Productions label which manifested itself as an infamous brick and mortar store, engineering studio and packaging workshop in Manhattan's East Village. Currently residing in the Los Angeles desert, he has set up Bed Of Nails Compound,a new imprint for industrial techno and electronic environments.
Vatican Shadow's melodic loops and militant rhythms conspire upon the world stage of conflicts, where it isn't clear what side you are on or who is winning. It is a deeply political music, one that only makes sense in today's context of entrenched, unconscious Orientalism, government corruption and militant extremism on all sides.
A dizzying amount of projects over the last 15 years have seen Fernow explore every aspect of noise, industrial and, lately, techno musics. Most well known for his prolific and unpredictable Prurient guise under which he released literally hundreds of power electronic missives, Fernow has also appeared under names like Ash Pool, Exploring Jezebel, Christian Cosmos and Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement (though the last is much contested). He is also an erstwhile member of modern gothic industrial types, Cold Cave.
His music has appeared on labels like Modern Love, Editions Mego, Blackest Ever Black, Type and Hydra Head, as well as his own Hospital Productions and Bed Of Nails. It's through his own imprints that Fernow is at his most irrepressible, issuing tapes, CDs and records of both his own work and the work of like-minded explorers of negativity, pain and intensity. Hospital's back-catalogue currently stands 300 releases strong, with names like Silent Servant, Kevin Drumm, Jim O'Rourke, Thurston Moore, Wolf Eyes and Burning Star Core in that list.
Much of Fernow's seemingly-endless discography happened while very few people were paying attention, outside of the extreme noise scene. However, his Vatican Shadow alias has changed all that. Vatican Shadow has been the site of Fernow's first proper experiments with techno and the results have been stunning. Early tapes like Kneel Before Religious Icons and Byzantine Private CIA made a splash in a club community opening itself up to darker, weirder sounds from the likes of Pete Swanson, Container and the Sandwell District crew. He's since found a kindred spirit with the Blackest Ever Black label, through which he released Through The Window, the first real example of the techno spirit spilling over into the Prurient realm.
As ever, Fernow remains a die-hard experimentalist, exploring every possible nook and cranny of a sound before moving on before anyone can really figure out what he's up to and pin him to it. He is one of modern music's most important agitators and innovators, a restless soul out to make us all feel something, anything, even if it's just like shit.
"It may not seem like it at first, but truly this is music at its most provocative." - FACT
"One of the most exciting noise musicians in the world." - RBMA
"Dominick Fernow's body of work is a study in implicit transgression." - Pitchfork
"Fernow is now more concerned with replicating the throb of delirium gnawing on the sniper's psyche." - Resident Advisor
"The bottom line is aggression, a hangover from noise's neo-punk pretences at the height of the Wolf Eyes era. Which just does not sit comfortably with what was assumed to be essentially pacifist content. But because, to me, discomfort is the one and only true function of transgressive art, and a sensation so very few artists are able to inspire in these desensitized times, the set blows me the fuck away; as much as would Fernow's self-laceration, or a live sex show. Ideologically, it's every bit as obscene. You can't trust the narrator? So what. It's art. You don't like the violence and see the point? Maybe there isn't one." - The Quietus
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