The Squid – Aaron Dilloway & C Spencer Yeh go deep.
One of the things I’m loving about my new-found Noise appreciation, is learning what I like and why I like it. This week I’ve been working hard on my forthcoming book of short stories and its brought out the literature in the sounds. Where associations were an ‘imprint’ before (I love this song because of what I was doing the first time I heard it / hate this song for similar reasons) now I am learning to trust my intuition as a selecting process to add to my creative experience of any given moment. The music isn’t absorbing the experience like an access switch to a remembered happiness. It is part of the experience, more akin to the way Bresson uses music to alter mood in his films. I’ve noticed many of the recordings I’ve had around me this week are connecting deeply with literature. It’s happened to me again with this album.
The Squid is a collaboration album comprising three tracks of noise work between Aaron Dilloway and C. Spencer Yeh – both heavy contributors to the noise / experimental community. The disc was released in 2007, and in every literal sense, sounds like a land-dwellers version of what it must be like deep under the ocean’s surface – where the squid live.
The opening track, Ahab, was the literary source for me. I played that track over and over this week, taking advantage of the tracks title to impose a Melville ideology to the piece. I get an anthropomorphic feel as we descend to the deep, knowing I will be confronting this great squid at some point. The track has the texture and complexity of vintage concrete and this feel moves through this ancient aesthetic approach. Yeh’s violin adds a completely sensual component to Dilloway’s noise that create a timeless sense of immersion into oblivion.
The other standout track for me is The Hydra. This track (as with most of the album) has all the tell-tale signs of interaction making the disc sound like a duet between Yeh’s violin and Dilloway’s tape manipulations of that violin. the music is twisted and stretched into a trance-inducing, repetitious downward spiral as we are dragged deeper and deeper into feedback echo.
Aaron Dilloway has been releasing and recording music since the age of 16. He was a member of experimental bands Couch, Galen and Universal Indians. He is a former guitarist and tape manipulator for the experimental band Wolf Eyes, which he left in 2005 to live most of that year in Kathmandu, Nepal. While his wife did her graduate work there, he roamed the streets recording every sound he could, many of which are used in his recent recordings and performances. Currently he runs the noise record label, record store and mailorder Hanson Records, which he began in Brighton, Michigan in 1994. Hanson then moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan for several years, before finally settling in Oberlin, Ohio, after a brief return to Ann Arbor. He performs solo using eight track tapes and vocal sounds, and records modular synthesizer music as Spine Scavenger. Recently, he has played with an ever-changing cast of sound artists under the name The Nevari Butchers.
C. (Chih-Fu) Spencer Yeh was born in Taipei, Taiwan 1975, moved to the US in 1980; studied radio/television/film at Northwestern University, and is now based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Yeh is active both as a solo and ensemble artist, as well as with his primary ‘organized sound’ project, Burning Star Core. As an improviser, Yeh has focused on developing a personal vocabulary using violin, voice, and electronics. As a sound organizer/composer, Yeh works with all aspects available surrounding a work, aurally and physically, as elements key to the cumulative experience. He is concerned not only with the sensual aspects of sound, but the gestural qualities as well. Yeh has performed alongside and collaborated with a deep and ever-growing list of artists and groups including Tony Conrad, Evan Parker,Thurston Moore, the New Humans with Vito Acconci, Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano, John Wiese,Aaron Dilloway, John Olson & the Graveyards, Amy Granat, Jutta Koether, Ladonna Smith, Carlos Giffoni, Okkyung Lee, Atsuhiro Ito, Lasse Marhaug, Audrey Chen, Nate Wooley, JP Feliciano, Rafael Toral, Rhys Chatham’s Guitar Trio All-Stars, Damo Suzuki’s Network, and many others, and has performed across the U.S.A. and Europe in a variety of settings and festivals. Most recently he participated in the 24 Hour Drone People project in Stockholm (and the abbreviated 5 hour version in Amsterdam), alongside artists such as CM von Hauswolff, Mika Vainio, Joachim Nordwall, BJ Nilsen,Hildur Gudnadottir, Hild Sofie Tafjord, and Mark Wastell. He has also had visual art and video works presented internationally.