Climb up the stairs and get lost in the bins at Oberlin, Ohio’s noise and experimental music mecca, owned and operated by Aaron Dilloway.
Aaron Dilloway is a luminary in avant-garde music circles, famous (if that’s the right word) for his time spent in the revered noise group Wolf Eyes. But in Oberlin, Ohio, he’s probably best known as the proprietor of a small but beloved brick-and-mortar called Hanson Records. In a certain light, Hanson is a community concern, catering to the wide-ranging tastes of a college town with a highly regarded, experimentally inclined conservatory. But the store, which started in 1994 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a label and mail-order distributor dedicated to Dilloway’s own releases and those by fellow travelers, is known around the world as a source for awesomely obscure and utterly subversive music. Here, Dilloway details some of his favorite records he’s come across at the helm of Hanson – from an album comprised of surreptitiously captured field recordings from casinos to the impossibly rare and intriguing Celebrity Bowling Christmas Album – along with selections showcasing the surprising breadth of its stocklist. Along the way, he discusses the time Thurston Moore talked him into reviving his in-store performance series for one night only, the night he briefly joined the quasi-anonymous outsider folk artist Jandek’s band and possibly the only time in history a landlord sided with a record store in a dispute over a noise complaint.
Yes, you heard that right: Robert Redford, the American actor, narrates 1971’s The Language And Music Of The Wolves.
Check out Ergot Records, the label run by Oberlin graduate Andrian Rew, who released Slot Machine Music in 2014 on Hanson Records.
Hanson Records employee Andrew Kurshner runs the Cleveland-based label Mistake By the Lake.