Jordan Reyes – A Night with My Aunt’s Dolls

10.4.19 by Ryan Masteller


Oh, sorry, not on the tape – I didn’t mean that. This is a Jordan Reyes gripper-and-ripper all the way through. I meant the dolls … the dolls. I don’t know your relationship to any kind of dolls or whatever, but when I think of them, I think of the old ones, the ones that open and close their somewhat-realistic eyes on their somewhat-realistic faces. The ones that seem to be looking at you – THROUGH you – as they stand there on the shelf or behind the glass case or upon the demonic altar in whatever living room/study/rec room/museum you have set up at your house to display them. Did I say demonic altar? I meant bedside table. Don’t know how that slipped out.

Fortunately, “A Night with My Aunt’s Dolls” isn’t quite the horror story I may have just conjured in my mind. Instead, it’s a rumination, an exploration about familial bonds and their transference to objects that come to represent them. Reyes spent an evening in his late aunt’s room with a modular synthesizer, sitting among the objects that came, in some way, to define his aunt, and chief among them were the dolls – the dolls captured his attention. I don’t know what kind of dolls they were. But the three tracks that make up this tape – “Call to Worship,” “Fallen Soldier,” and “Friend of a Friend” – suggest that Reyes’s imagination was firing on all cylinders, whipping up stories and personalities, perhaps with an eye toward how his aunt saw these objects, and adding a vivid soundtrack to the world. There’s no judgment here, just fragmented tones and bubbling, fractured melodies, obviously breathing life into the titular objects as the creator of their personalities allow them to take their first tentative steps.

It almost makes me feel bad about my initial jitters – the ideas here are so sincere and well intentioned.

But, but … dolls! They’re so spooky.

Out on Heavy Days. “CS 20 (single sided) + inserts housed in a plastic sleeve. Edition of 50.”