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- The Gag File by Aaron Dilloway
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One day I received a text message from friend and former Norman Records employee Brian who was at the time at the great Tusk Festival in the North of England. It read “Aaron Fucking Dilloway! It’s like a fucking Francis Bacon painting coming to life”. Laughed my ass off. I’ve still not been to one of his shows but his records are always pretty great and his latest ‘The Gag File’ is no exception. The artwork suggests this is something of a sister album to his ‘Modern Jester’ record, but in this case rather than the Goofball mask we have a vaguely disturbing image of a Ventriloquist dummy - almost a dead ringer for Conservative politician / A1 twat Michael Gove.
The synth on opening cut ‘Ghost’ is like some huge chrome spacecraft just appeared overhead, with tractor beams scanning for something to hoover up. A manipulated/processed vocal emerges that sounds part human/ part machine like some possessed, dying cyborg trying to relay some profound message before it shuts down. Just when you think the record is gonna head in a bleak sci-fi direction ‘Karaoke With Cal’ goes all Lynchian seedy jazz, double bass loop and demented pitched down vocal garble on your ass. ‘Inhuman Form Reflected’ is a riot of machine alarm loop, police scanner radio, crowd noise, and basically a load of weird tape racket that I have no idea what the source is. ‘Born In a Maze’ grinds along mechanically like some army of Transformer diggers and dumper trucks forming a dense wall of sound that begins phazing dizzily. ‘It’s Not Alright’ is something I never want to hear on acid. ‘No Eye Sockets (For Otto & Sindy)’ sounds like he took his tape recorder to a bar for a coupla drinks with some kinda smooth soul/funk playing beneath chattering and giggling of people having a good time. Then ‘Switch’ kicks in like some mutant hyperactive musique concrète techno - a bizzaro symphony of colliding, rugged, deranged loops. Finally ‘Shot Nerves’ hits like some whacked out deconstructed, avant hair metal.
‘The Gag File’ fully displays Dilloway’s ability to source and manipulate seemingly mundane sound into vibrant, surreal new forms / bizzaro tape collages that retain the character of his unique sound. A brilliantly freaky record.
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