Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Witch Trilogy - Shinjuku Thief (Dorobo)

I didn't know Darrin Verhagen (Shinjuku Thief) until a few days ago - why would I? He lives in Australia, and that's the other side of the world from London. What? You mean the internet stretches that far? Amazing! 

Well, better 20 years later than never. The trilogy runs from 1993 (The Witch Hammer), to 1995 (The Witch Hunter) and 2002 (The Witch Haven). The first two consist of orchestral samples but by the third he had what he calls 'a decent orchestra in a box' and was able to write and recontextualise existing tracks. 

You might get the idea simply by the album titles, or not. There's so much Gothic ambient/devil-worshipping music around, I blame Demdike Stare, for everything, including the current economical crisis. But hold on, the very fact that most of this consists of stitched together orchestral works really makes it stand out. God knows what he sampled, but I don't recognise any of it, which means little since I know next to nothing about Classical music. 

Think Hammer Horror (yes, you would), Vincent Price...Hilary Dwyer...mmmm...sorry, drifted off there. Better still, think Kreng's work for Abbatoir Fermé in a truncated form, and more orchestral. It's all one long soundtrack to witch-burning, black cat-bothering, dreams & nightmares, misty graveyards, spells, the living dead (no, not Mumford & Sons fans, but yes, if you like), hexes, chants, Dennis Wheatley, taverns populated by locals who don't like to talk about that house on the hill...and so on. Good. very good.


  1. Pffft says a Shinjuku Thief fan in Australia. Hope this reaches you in far away London btw!

    1. Not sure what 'Pfffft' means because I don't speak Australian...very faint, but just about readable...


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