Aaron Dilloway - Radio Nepal Vols. 1, 2 & 3 (Hanson Records CD-Rs)
Aw shit! And you thought Alan Bishop was the only one propagating foreign culture for his own personal gain! Hawhahawhahw I'm just kidding of course. I don't really give a shit about the so-called ethics behind the process of recording the sounds from afar and releasing them over here in America with no royalities being paid to the original artist. Mainly because I know if somebody recorded one of my performances from over here in the motherland, I really wouldn't care what they did with it. But then again I don't perform. So I don't really have to ever worry about such a situation. And that debate is getting into nerdy Wire "letters to the editor" turf. AND to be fair to Aaron Dilloway, these are just CD-Rs of various radio stations from over there in Nepal, so it's not like any one individual is being ripped off. Maybe you can make a case for Dilloway's Nath Family recordings, but those guys were hustlers anyway so my heart ain't bleeding just yet. But what am I trying to stir up trouble for? Let's just enjoy the sounds, Jack.
The three discs that comprise the "Radio Nepal" set (packaged and sold individually but you get a deal if you order all three from Hanson direct) each consist of one 45-minute track spliced and diced with all sorts of transmissions from a shortwave radio somewhere within Dilloway's reach in Nepal. It doesn't make any sense to talk about them in seperate terms since they're really three of a perfect pair, and since I listened to them all consecutively I can scarcely remember which disc contained what sound. A couple things are immediately striking upon listening to the recordings, the first of which being the surprising amount of English content on the stations being picked up. Not just in terms of the music (obviously I would expect American pop music to make it to the airwaves of countries not located on this continent) but the DJs and commercials as well...in particular this one astonishingly lame ratio station ad set to the tune of Tina Turner's "Simply the Best", wherein the radio station in question predictably claims to be...simply the best. Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" makes a brief appearance, so too does the Prodigy's "Breathe" (which I actually got pretty stoked for since I haven't heard that song in an eon but it didn't last beyond the opening few bars) and a Snoop Dogg song which I can't identify right away but can tell you that he's namechecking the Neptunes, if that's of any help. Oh yeah and there's a great part where Terry Jacks' "Season in the Sun" barely comes through the shrubbery of static, something that also plays a pretty integral role in all three discs. In fact, at times it's hard to believe that Dilloway isn't intentionally manipulated the pops and buzzes of the radio because they're sometimes so prolonged and so aggressive that they're not at all unlike an Aaron Dilloway solo set. They can also get pretty cosmic too, inflicting mass amounts of long-form bwoops and disruptions upon the songs they're supposed to be transmitting. What else is good? Well there's this bit that's too funny to not be purposely comedic...it's a jazz tune playing which gets interrupted by a supposed newsflash in which astrologists have been instructed to keep watch for any movement on Mars and that they'll be going to an interview with some space professor for his comments but until then they'll go back to the song...which they do for two seconds until the interview cuts in and the interviewer talks about being with the professor in a dark room with an arched ceiling and that's all we get to hear before it cuts out again. What the fuuuuu? Okay maybe you had to be there but I thought it was funny. Oh, and of course, I can't forget the main attraction of the disc which is, despite coming in shorter supply than I would've liked, the folk and pop songs native to the Nepali people and their radio stations. Well there's a pretty good mix, from dance-y pop songs that play on those foreign TV stations where you can text message in your vote to the video you like the most, to slow and deliberate tabla/guitar/flute/vocal sessions like all gathered around the hookah and such, to gentle acoustic female pop numbers which I would surely hate if they were in English and signed by Sarah McLachlan or something (do you have her in the U.S.?), to near-raucous instrumental jazz numbers, to funky Bollywood jamming...all seperated and often paired up with advertisements I could never hope to understand and the frequent, unsettling bursts of static that are in abundance throughout all three volumes. Safe to say that your average World Music Listener would not find much comfort in the harsh white noise cuts strewn about here but it's practically par for the course when you're shopping from Hanson and I'm sure some people wouldn't even notice it. Sometimes I envy some people.
Pretty bangin' if simplistic packaging job done on these babies, each one coming in a black cardboard sleeve with a wrap-around (vibrant!) red and blue sticker. Scissors couldn't even get the job done here, I had to get out the exacto knife, no shit. 3D glasses not included but recommended. As far as the content goes, you get what you pay for on these discs, which isn't really a major endorsement nor a statement of negativity. I mean, they're cool, but nothing here is going to blow your mind wide open and it's certainly not the kind of revelatory discovery that Dillowa's Nath Family tapes were/are. I wouldn't buy these expecting any Sublime Frequencies usurpation but then again it's not like that's what Dilloway was trying to do in the first place. An interesting enough listen and recommended if you've got the spare cash ($20 I think?)