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Baker's Dozen

Never Mind The Bootlegs: Aaron Dilloway's Favourite Music
Jennifer Lucy Allan , July 14th, 2021 10:25

Aaron Dilloway picks thirteen 7"s, LPs, bootleg VHS and cassettes for his Baker’s Dozen, which veers from field recordings of bigfoot to experimental classical music from the early 20th century


Various Artists – Sounds Of New Music

This was one of the first records where I heard a lot of early experimental classical music. It has a track which to this day is probably my favourite piece of music ever. It's a track called 'Symphony of Machines' by Russian composer Aleksandr Mossolov. It was composed in 1923, I think the recording is from 1928. They use a lot of actual sheet metal for the percussion, and it's just one of the heaviest tracks I've ever heard. I remember the first time hearing it my friend played it for me when we had been smoking a lot of weed, I was probably too high. It's a Folkways record, so it has a booklet, and there's a picture of [Vladimir] Ussachevsky with some really primitive looking electronic equipment, a score from someone that is just squiggles on a page from 1940 or something. It was just so overwhelming I thought I was gonna pass out or throw up. Then that track was so heavy. I never thought about it as loops, but I played it for someone recently and they said it sounded like my music, because it's these repetitive lines and clanging metals, which makes sense – I love that.

Were you already using tape loops yourself then?

It was right around the same time. I was 19 or 20 and Steve – the guy who had that record – he and I were obsessed with eight-track tapes. He ended up finding an eight-track player that could record. I was trying to make tape loops with cassettes and having a hard time because they're so small and the mechanism is so tight, so I decided to start messing with 8-track tapes because the tape was thicker and we had this this recorder. I used to do a lot of pause-button tape looping, where I would record a sound onto one tape, rewind, and try to line it up to make rhythms. I did that even as a really young kid before I knew what experimental music was. I would make these compilation tapes, 'the best of the Beatles', where it was my favourite parts from all these different Beatles songs. But there was definitely a eureka moment with the 8-track when I realised that I'd made a loop and if I plugged it into a mixer, I could bring up one side, or have different sounds in each side, multiple loops on one tape, or if I ran it through a delay unit, I could give it movement. It was with the 8-track tape I realised all the different things I could do with that simple mechanism.