After 12 years and two very small cassette editions on American Tapes and Hanson Records, Dilloway and Drumm’s I Drink Your Skin is available on CD. Dressed up in cheesy horror movie duds and packed tight with overblown noise, Aaron and Kevin each dish out a 25 minute ribbon of goofy loops, obnoxious high-end squeals, and blathering garbage sounds. It is gruff, but invigorating stuff—and more carefully put together than it at first appears.
For I Drink Your Skin Dilloway and Drumm each made up a composition of sounds generated by the other guy. According to the Hanson website, the samples Aaron gave Kevin consisted of loops pulled from a Renaissance eight-track tape, and the mini-disc that Kevin sent Aaron was covered in spilled coffee—its contents a mystery. The way Dilloway treats them, it probably doesn’t matter. His side of the release piles stroboscopic flashes of God-knows-what on top of rhythmic loops and interminable waves of full-spectrum clutter. It’s hard to concentrate on any one part of Dilloway’s track, but he glues the whole thing together with a series of identifiable loops, which are separated from each other by piercing high frequency tones shrill enough to piss off the neighbor’s dog. I wouldn’t call it a suite exactly, but I hear at least three distinct sections on this track. The sound is as turbulent and harsh as anything else Aaron’s done, but those loops hold it all together and give some shape to the otherwise shapeless chaos of his work.
Drumm also uses a loop or two on his side, but he treats them differently by carving some space out around them. One of those loops sounds vaguely like a cut and spliced horn section from Renaissance’s “Mother Russia,” though I can’t be sure of it. It also sounds like something from a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 episode: blithe enough to be fun, but working hard to sound scary too. Lots of flanging, oddball pitch-bending, and a pinch of Theremin-like spookiness further add to the funhouse effect. That kind of variety and relief makes it easier to focus on everything Kevin pushes through the speakers, and by working with concentrated aggregates of noise, he keeps the details from rushing by too quickly. The sounds are still harsh, they’re just a touch more approachable thanks to the way Drumm handles them.
I’m glad Hanson finally made this album more widely available. Both pieces are intense, heavy, and just as much fun as anything found on either artist’s better known albums. Remember, Sheer Hellish Miasma and Dread were both recorded around the same time as I Drink Your Skin, so it comes from a particularly strong period for both of them. That it is not as well known is only a matter of availability, not quality. Now that there are more than 100 cassette copies floating around, I suspect it will win a lot more love.