Boomkat Product Review:
At bleedin’ last, The Gag File retches up Aaron Dalloway’s long-awaited follow-up to the noise classic, Modern Jester , which has since taken on cult status with miscreants across the board from Demdike Stare to Happa and practically every other crank out there.
Fronted by an unnervingly coy ventriloquist’s dummy which indelibly mars the memory from first sight, The Gag File offers up Dilloway as a sort of psychopomp or vessel through which humanity’s ills are digested and distilled then regurgitated in the kind of day-later dog’s dinner that stains your clothes, teeth and mind. And yet you’ll find yourself chewing on its chunks over and again.
Considering that’s it’s five years since his last major LP, you can trust that he’s juicing as much sourness and pain in each minute to make that run time feel worthwhile, just in the same way that his captivating, improvised live shows can feel like a thoroughly satisfying ordeal; as though witnessing a car crash unfold in slow motion, or like the soundtrack to a compelling snuff flick which only reveals its reality or nature after the reel has stopped running and you start pondering wtf just happened.
Dilloway’s psychotomimetic torment is thusly revealed for our pleasure and disgust in eight parts across the album, following well-trained hunches from the crudely lo-fi budget basement horrors of Ghost and the barbiturate party crank of Karaoke With Cal before the madness really begins to get under the skin with the broken toothed loops and radgy holler of Inhuman Form Reflected, giving way to the heaving, collapsed industrial structure of Born In A Maze.
There’s a perfectly unnerving passage of muffled, mumbled croon at the record epicentre, It’s Not Alright, setting up the listener for a fake left into the low key party ambience of No Eye Sockets (For Otto & Sindy), like you’ve just emerged from a basement bloodbath into a crowd of all-too-normals who don’t know your secret. Scene cuts sharply to what sounds like $&$ trapped in a P-funk K-Hole, with Switch, and the hysteric resolution of Shot Nerves.