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- Ornamental Walls by Vatican Shadow
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The recent splurge of Vatican Shadow vinyl is most welcome as most of the releases either appear on cassettes that vanish immediately or digital downloads. This collection for Modern Love is super raw, recorded directly to cassette and is perhaps the grubbiest sounding material yet in terms of fidelity. If you’re familiar with the Vatican Shadow sound then you’ll pretty much know what to expect- gritty industrial techno with heavenly synths. I really do like this stuff a lot but I can’t help but occasionaly feel that a lot of it is becoming somewhat formulaic and a bit samey but that doesn’t stop my enjoyment of it.
The second side is entirely previously unreleased material and begins with ‘Cairo Is a Haunted City Mythic Chords’ and it sounds like it’s being transmitted through a busted radio. It’s a really beautiful track bristling with the gorgeous synth melodies Ferknow does so well.
‘Nightforce Scopes’ paints an image of snipers in a sand bunker at night, effortlessly emitting a sense of dread and menace. When the beats kick in I imagine a convoy of military vehicles storming by, whipping up clouds of sand into a hazey beige fog, headlights beaming through.
‘Yemeni Telephone Number’ is a brief noisy granular interlude while ‘India Has Just Tested A Nuclear Device’ makes use of space to create a vivid sense of paranoia. ‘Church Of All Images Church Of The NSA’ is a real tension builder, again super dark and sounds like all hell could break loose at any given moment. The tension is actually rather thrilling. It sounds like a slowed down distorted acid bassline with a ton of brilliant creepy industrial atmospherics.
‘Boxes Were Wired To Batteries Then Loaded Into A Brown Toyota Cargo Truck’ ends proceedings and continues the terrifying feeling of pre-war dread. What’s powerful about this music is that it looks at the terror of war through sound but rather than a brutal mindless racket and everything being blown apart it evokes the emotions of the fighters and is like a snapshot of stepping into their boots. Not a place I’d like to be as the audio paints a grim picture, but then war is never pretty.
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