Body/Dilloway/Head is about as obscure a musical entity as it is notorious. Comprised of the duo Body/Head (Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and Bill Nace) and Electronic oddity Aaron Dilloway, the now trio have recently released a record of grave confusions, malfunction, and perhaps head trauma. It opens to over five minutes of dense white noise on the track “Body/Erase,” from which mumbles scarcely pop in and out, a drawer is opened or closed, some shuffling of some kind occurs. This paints a picture of a worn out recording of two people casually sitting in a room who didn’t know they were being recorded. Without knowing it though, the intentional listener is already in.
Tape scratches begin to appear which are used quite cleverly to confuse. Sounds like the movement of heavy objects across a floor come unexpectedly only for the sound to bend and distort into what appears to have been mere record distortion all along. These distortions then envelope the entire soundscape, somewhat rhythmically, producing a distinctly “broken machine” environment. If you aren’t fully attentive or don’t have the record up high enough you may begin wondering if there were ever any mumbles or shifting drawers at all, or if those were “distortions” as well. Undoubtedly one of Aaron Dilloway’s touches.
This is the album which finally drove me entirely insane. The lo-fi ambient soundscapes drift aphasiatically through a world of broken things; not things which were once fine and slowly decay over time, a world where things are made broken unreasonably and nobody ever fixes them. It feels as if the enigmatic room we began in just slowly breaks and expands apart into some disembodying space that just sort of drifts into deeper and deeper confusions from there.
“Body/Erase” goes clanging for the entire A-side of the record, an impressive seventeen minutes of disembodying sounds which allow the heavily reverberated, gonging guitar piece opening up the B-side feeling almost pleasant. The guitar continues throughout, swelling and bleeding into the familiar sounds of tape distortion, looping in what sounds like a slow whirring mechanism of some kind, almost resembling a voice. These vocal distortions pick up in the final thirteen minute track “Secret Cuts” with swinging and bending voice-like repetitions among the reverberated
Body/Dilloway/Head is certainly one of those avant garde “an experience unto itself” sort of records, not unlike a John Cage piece. The piece produces a setting which sort of unravels into a disembodied ambiance, giving a driving aesthetic which saves it from complete obscurity. It’s a very confusing listen.