Aaron Dilloway is an experimental Noise producer who I’ve been following since I first listened to Modern Jester in 2012, but he’s made a name for himself in the noise scene prior to this album. Dilloway uses 8 track tape loops and other effects to create his sounds, so there’s a lot more repetition in his works than other noise musicians. When I first listened to this album in full, I felt like I was being waterboarded.
Modern Jester is a mammoth of a record. I really do think I was too new to the genre when I first listened to it, because it scared me half to death. Aaron Dilloway does produce very haunting and terrifying music, but I think I was just overwhelmed. Subsequent listens brought a much deeper appreciation for the samples and loops, and the way he constructed these pieces. Eight Cut Scars (For Robert Turman) knocks you on your ass with a high pitched and erratic barrage of tones. He tones it down for Labyrinth & Jokes but that’s just the set up for two 18 minute tracks back to back.
Body Chaos has some of the most sampling going on in the album, with what sounds like entire songs being played in less than a second, dogs barking played back in reverse, trains, and various unintelligible vocal sources. It’s just an enrapturing piece that still fascinates me. Look Over Your Shoulder has a phenomenal build up to it, his sound grows bigger and deeper as the track chugs along. It’s very atmospheric and moody, with loud crashes in the background like thunder that rattle the track but never overpower it.
Shatter All Organized Activities brings it back to the harsh screech of tape loops that Dilloway is fond of. I find myself constantly trying to identify the source of the samples being used, something I usually do with Plunderphonics, which I think is one of the reasons he might not be viewed as a “true” harsh noise producer… I don’t really agree/care with all of that though. It’s as abrasive as any, but I think more innovative and unique.
There’s something I think unusual with me, in that when I listen to noise, I get a deep sense of calm despite the blaring garbage in my ears. I really can’t explain it, but I’ve used Harsh Noise to study for exams in the past. For whatever reason it helps me focus. I would absolutely NOT recommend this album to newcomers of noise, or casual music fans in general. If you’re looking to get into the genre, I think you’d be better off listening to Noise Rock like The Gerogerigegege’s Tokyo Anal Dynamite or something more tame like Secret Abuse’s The Immeasurable Gift.
P.S. I am 99.99% sure the album cover is a reference/homage to The Gerogerigegege’s album Showa (1988).