Oberlin, Ohio based experimental noise musician Aaron Dilloway released The Gag File April 28, 2017 Via Dias Records. The Gag File is the follow up to the appraised 2012 album Modern Jester. The Opening track “Ghost” as well as the second “Karaoke with Cal” have a dreary & haunting sound. The dragging synths & vocal sampling have an almost tortured perspective on modern confusion.
the following track “Inhuman Form Reflected” contains a brooding low sound that seems to tear through a non-existent crowd of screams that sample in the track.
“Born in a Maze” is a more reminiscent track as far as Dilloway’s signature sound goes. The rattle of tape delay audibly fighting with a swarming synth will beat a listener’s ears to a pulp. Some tracks sadly remain uninteresting such as “It’s Not Alright” or “No Eye Sockets” but still have a prolific & undefined sound. “It’s not alright” creeps eerily through a vocal sample which transitions beautifully to the next track, which contains “Crowd Noise” as Dilloway defined it. “Switch”, being among the harshest of tracks on the record, has a loop that hauntingly sounds as if a machine was self-destructing & beating itself to death. “Shot Nerves” almost seems to coincide with “Switch” as if it’s an aftermath of the dying machine. The synth on this track screeches & follows into a chopped up almost vocal sound like digital stuttering. This audio form of anxiety is what defines the record as a whole.
Some tracks on The Gag File are regularly live performances that were done post Modern Jester. This album decides to stand alone yet could easily be defined by Dilloway’s particular aesthetic & style. Although it does not live up to the magnificently haunting & influential sound of Modern Jester, it does have highlights & gifts.
I would give it a solid 8/10