Aaron Dalloway’s latest is a mind swallower. My previous exposure to his brilliant ‘Modern Jester‘ album only provided limited immunity to the deeply troubling sounds on this release. Where to begin? All is wonderful confusion. The reversed EVP message of ‘Karaoke with Cal’, which slips around on oily locked-groove noir-jazz; crackle and whistles adding burnt bin-rescued 50s sic-fi vibrations; picture people in pyjamas, smoking on hot-night porches, flicking ash into a shrub, observed by unseen eyes. ‘Ghost’ is a glowing-egg fuzz-throb in dry-ice packed attic space, a thudding beat provided by a synth panel being beaten into/out of shape; a gurgling voice encrypted into obscurity, its cypher key eaten by eels. The party noise of ‘No Eye Sockets (for Otto & Sindy)’ – “HEY, SINDY” – laughter / glass clinks / through-the-wall muted music – the humanness of a social gathering lit in Lynchian relief in this context, wrong in an undefinable way. ‘Born in a Maze’ and its fiery chugging scorch-rock, like Sightings but denser, less of the needle-point feedback and more psych-whirlpool. The track that spiked particularly deeply into my not-at-all reluctant frontal lobes, is ‘Inhuman Form Reflected’ and its sirens, screams, stalking robots, production-line clank, and ringing phones signalling urgent, aggressive dialogue; the whole piece a noise factory, musique concrete as squealing slaughterhouse; at one point, there is an in-the-room-with-you physical assault, perhaps on Aaron himself – his equipment become organic like the typewriters in the film version of Naked Lunch, but predatory, knobs and dials collapsing into a tooth-lined mouth.
‘The Gag File’ is an absurd uncanny circus of an album. Disturbing but completely absorbing – each track a nauseous throbbing buffet of weirdness.
Pull the lid off its sweating container here.