aron Dilloway has used his Spine Scavenger project to make music with a narrower worldview than his Wolf Eyes mates. Taking a discount electronic sound and plenty of space, he concentrates solely on applying tension. Coming on the heels of two cassette-only releases, this time he’s used the 3” CD-R to get into some quieter areas. While the two tracks found on Va-t-em are poles apart in terms of sounds used, they have the same function. With Dilloway seemingly concentrating on different sonic aspects with separate projects, his music has become splintered into the explosive or the restrained. In either case, Spine Scavenger has been the most consistently rewarding Wolf Eyes solo pseudonym to date.
Va-t-em perfects the sound of a jammed system on the verge of unleashing the ghosts in the machine. Both untitled pieces carry heavy visual images with them, and none of them are very pretty. The second track is so effective that it almost seems storyboarded. A wobble board bassline heralds an approaching scanning device, the sounds alternating between clear and murky. Hospital-style mechanical examination sounds grow to just below the pain threshold, then suddenly cut out. As alarm sourced bleats come and go, the air continues to sharpen. Tension is slid under nerve endings through carefully teased drones and single heartbeat pulses. This is the sound of something outside your bedroom door expertly done.
Dilloway has formed music that takes its emotional content from an abundance of silence. But these passages of apparent hush still hide the hum of something submerged in the mix. The concentration of this emptiness, along with the unsettling sounds that appear, make for a very involving album. There’s a blackened distance around the sounds on the track that leads the imagination down agitated paths. The intermittent whiplash beat, creaking liquid pulse, and dub delays that tap away into the distance only heap the strangeness on grain by grain. The second track’s electronic chimes are audibly blood-drenched, leaving a weak shuddering rounded reverb on the notes. Static blasts of sound lurk and slide edgily out of the darkness, as opposed to exploding into the track from nothingness.
Dilloway’s has a unique expertise in creating this kind of twitchy anxiety. Like the lo-fi nastiness of the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre soundtrack, Va-t-em succeeds where symphonies have failed—it’s only a matter of time before some filmmaker has the sense to marry this type of music with some insanely high-budgeted horror remake.
Reviewed by: Scott McKeating
Reviewed on: 2006-05-25