"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"
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Sunday, 19 September 2010

Fuller absorption



(Apologies - another re-up for aggregation, but the last for now.)

From the first it sounds special, precious, profound - & unlike almost anything else out there. Neo-classical drone? Yes, sort of. A classical palette is put to work bobbing on gargantuan bass swells that seem to last forever (& often do clock up serious, sustained minutes) – but the ‘real’ instruments involved seem to be all summoned snippets & loops. It’s a kind of classical hauntology in which traces of strings & horns are woven into epic drones, reconstituted adagios...

Kyle Bobby Dunn brings a rare intensity to bear in his music. Not in a balls-out, late Coltrane or Ben Frost mode, but rather an exceptional single-mindedness. There’s a real bravado to his very narrow sound range & its epic sustains.

Close-up it’s busier, layers of tremulous detail interlocking & fading. People talk, rightly, about The Necks’ magnificent, long-range builds. KBD, although commonly working in 10 to 15-minute chunks rather than an hour at a time, feels like their match - even if the comparison is off-beam in many ways (live improvisation versus composition, group versus solo, drums versus beatlessness...).

To take a far more obvious comparison (unsettling mood, slow-motion unfolding, uncloying beauty), he also holds his own with the drowsy, indolent Stars of the Lid...


To these ears Fervency & its ravishing expansion, A Young Person’s Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn (out earlier this year on LMYE's revered Low Point & streamable in full below), remain his triumphant peak. Pieces like the radiant trio Empty Gazing, Small Show of Hands & Promenade (a Fervency original) achieve a consummateness of tone, of pace, of shape that is very rare. Several others are almost as memorable.

But nothing of his that's made it through to LMYE (yet to track those early releases on Housing & some others down yet, admittedly) is less than enthralling. Although the two long pieces making up the recent Rural Routes No.2 seem austerer, less instantly enticing than older material, they still unfold into richness - the more romantic Senium III especially. Dissonant Distances, meanwhile, draws on a refreshed & quite refreshing palette - more abrasive, certainly, but also fascinatingly studded with found fragments (voice, guitar, room sounds?).








"Low Point label proprietor, Gareth Hardwick, has been kind enough to release the 'Fervency' recordings on CD with extra material and second disc of music for guitar, piano, horn, viola, and cello. These are pretty old works for the most part - things starting in 2005 up 'til modern day 2009.

I worked again with various musicians on this but took very minuscule bits of their sound offerings and reworked them into mostly elongated pieces. There are some shorter works that feel longer -- 'Empty Gazing' and 'Last Minute Jest' are featured."







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