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Aaron Dilloway - Beggar Master

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Artist: Aaron Dilloway

Album: Beggar Master

Label: Hanson

Review date: Jul. 20, 2007

Since his departure from Wolf Eyes in 2005, he has eschewed the grind of near-constant touring, gotten married and become a father, but Aaron Dilloway's certainly in no danger of settling down. A year spent living in Nepal might have diminished Dilloway's live performance options, but he remained a productive musician, amassing a collection of recordings (of both the field, and at-home varieties) that have surfaced, upon his return to the US, largely through Dilloway's own Hanson Records imprint. Beggar Master, Dilloway's first solo full-length, was released originally on LP, in a limited edition of 300, but has been reissued on CD by Hanson, a boon to those too slow to snag the album in its first incarnation. It's advertised as his debut, but Dilloway's been making noise under his own name for years, with plenty of solo action concurrent with his tenure in Wolf Eyes; still, Beggar Master especially in its reissued form, is one of Dilloway's highest profile releases, a worthy companion to its smaller-run brethren, even if it doesn't find Dilloway raising the bar too high.

As a solo artist, Dilloway's always been somewhat old school when it comes to his noise, often working in piercing feedback and distortion, with an ear for dynamics, but sans a penchant for overwrought aural dramatics. Beggar Master fits into his oeuvre nicely, an album rife with smartly arranged ear damage and twisted tape manipulation. Especially on its titular a-side, the disc finds its momentum in a straightforward simplicity, with shrill tones a near constant, and a gravelly rhythm playing a harbinger of a more disheveled conclusion.

Even when Dilloway's palette becomes crowded, it rarely appears to involve sound simply for the sake of sonic heft, and while "Prayer Flush" (which consisted the original vinyl's second side) takes a largely different approach, it’s similar in its economy. Nepalese field recordings, looped and mutated, mark the beginning of the track, which moves into a more ambient realm, with the music picking up dirt and detritus before peaking in a sustained stream of damaged field recording and heavy distortion. It's far from easy listening, but Beggar Master, as usual, doesn't showcase Dilloway attempting any intricate tricks; beneath it all, his is an onslaught of purposeful selection from a musical voice that isn't wont to pointless blabber.

By Adam Strohm

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