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Concert Review: Lustmord & Aaron Dilloway at the Music Hall of Williamsburg
by Kenny Geiger

Friday the 13th in Brooklyn, New York truly lived up to the hype of the holiday, as Lustmord and Aaron Dilloway, two of the darkest and most unsettling noise artists in the past 25 years, joined forces for a night of apocalyptic sounds that would have made Jason Voorhees himself proud. Both artists have had their names thrown around in underground rock circles for years; Lustmord for his work with both Tool and the Melvins, and Dilloway for playing in the highly influential avant-garde band Wolf Eyes. For the most part though, they have remained figures that lurk in the shadows, sporadically playing live dates that are nowhere near the tristate area. Figuring that New York City would probably never see a bill of this caliber come around again, I decided to make my way over to check out just what these two had to offer. 

Aaron Dilloway went on first, accompanied by a variety of tape loops, contact mics, and a metal box that acted as a percussive tool of sorts. The set was entirely improvised, according to Dilloway, but I could feel traces of influence from his latest work, 2017’s The Gag File, creep into portions of the performance. Tape loops transitioned seamlessly between sounds of horrified yells and harsh noise to dark jazz beats that could easily fit into a David Lynch film. Dilloway kept himself busy though as the tapes did their thing, kicking the previously mentioned metal box against his chair to add to loops, scraping surfaces with various bows and gargling and whistling into a contact mic he left in his mouth for pretty much the entire set. I think written description alone cannot emphasize how intense of a performer Aaron Dilloway truly is, as I thought there were points where he was going to pass out by how intense his body contorted to the music. People joke about how noise music is not an artform that cannot be taken seriously. I suggest any of those people go see Aaron Dilloway live. He probably gives more raw emotion onstage than any of their favorite bands could hope to do. 

The evening’s main event, Lustmord, graced the stage with a much simpler setup than his predecessor, utilizing only a Macbook to reproduce sounds he creates in the studio. I can hear the grumbling dad-rock types in the distance saying, “Oh, so he just clicks play on a laptop? Yawn!” Only part of that is true. Yes, the music was coming from a laptop, but it was also improvised like Dilloway’s set before him. Lustmord built an atmospheric wall of sound with several keyboard loops and sounds recorded in space that were literally sent to him from NASA to put the concert attendees into a trance that was reminiscent of the fiery, slow-forming visuals he had projecting onstage. It made me feel as if I was watching the world slowly envelope into a black hole, and that is ultimately a feeling I think some of us need to face in order to confront the problems we experience everyday with more ease. 

I still find myself with goosebumps typing up a review for this show, as it may be a long time before I ever experience performances that primal and powerful again.