There are so many occasions where two great artists come together to make a record and the results are so-so. Often, especially in cases where they bring an encyclopedic history with them, it can be difficult to cede space and find new ground. None of this is the case with Lucy and Aaron. Reading the artists’ statements from each, the respect and affection they have for each other is mutual and obvious and those feelings bleed all over Lucy and Aaron.
Truthfully, Lucy and Aaron sounds simultaneously like what I’d expect from a collaboration between these two and also sounds unlike anything else I’ve heard. Technical prowess is on display throughout, Dilloway’s unassailable skill at mulching tape into gnostic sonic shards adds an underlying sonic gravel that keeps these pieces rooted firmly to the ground while shooting tiny sonic tendrils into a thousand different directions. Droning creep chops and glides on “Demands of Ordinary Devotion,” Dalt’s voice a distant, ghostly siren trying to break through the throbbing grind. Chord progressions hover askew, like a bystander trying not to get too involved, but still ending up assimilated by the wash.
So much of Lucy and Aaron blurs the lines between whatever modes the duo is using. “Trueno” drives forward with a visceral bass hum, Dalt’s voice scooped and looped into an alien instrument of its own before everything falls into this strange synthetic circus breakdown that is as cursed as it is mirthful. That spirit is spread throughout but is most evident again on “The Blob,” which bops along like broken down robotic folk music. It’s Flaming Tunes through a shredded prism and it’s gloriously hypnotic. Dalt’s vocals hang over the churning rhythms like a specter pulling all the strings as it bleeds into the junkyard kaleidoscopic slipstream of “Tense Cuts.”
Layers of seemingly endless textures propagate Lucy and Aaron like the duo is farming them for sport. Aqueous gloops darken the corners of “Both Blue Moons,” kept in place by cut-up vocals and echoed incantations. “Niles Baroque” is caked in glossy mud, Dalt again playing the pied piper leading us through the bubbling rhythmic churn of Dilloway’s sonic tape experiments. It flits between disconcerting and enthralling, leaving me dizzy and in awe.
Everything about this album is special from the concept to the cover art and, especially, the music. Lucy and Aaron is among the best albums of 2021 without a doubt and, with each listen, it only gets better. When it comes to American noise, Dilloway has always been at the very top of the mountain, but when paired with the magnificent, singular Dalt, he transforms, and working together they find new incredible forms of expression. Lucy and Aaron is amazing.
If you like what Foxy Digitalis does, please consider supporting us on Patreon.