Kyle Bobby Dunn: Bring Me The Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn
Low Point

Kyle Bobby Dunn's latest two-disc collection perpetuates the format and approach of 2010's A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn. Not that there's anything wrong with that—Dunn's soft, low-level ambient settings are an effective cure for any number of possible ailments, be they physical or spiritual. Like the earlier recording, the new one features a generous number of pieces, fifteen in this case, with some short but most long—a third of them pushing past the ten-minute mark. The title, of course, directly references Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, though that filmmaker's name isn't the first that comes to mind when one listens to Dunn's material. There's a serenity and calm to his music that's obviously far removed from the violence generally associated with Peckinpah's work. In truth, it's hard to think of any film director whose style aligns with Dunn's as a fitting analogue, though no doubt one exists whose creations are as austere and hypnotic as the composer's. Having said that, one could imagine the guitar-laced drift of “Ending of All Odds” used as a soundtrack to the desert scenes at the opening of Paris, Texas, and moments arise elsewhere that could conceivably accompany parts of Aguirre, The Wrath of God, too.

Recorded over several years at Bunce Cake (a recording studio in the downtown Brooklyn / Vinegar Hill area) and in remote parts of Canada, Dunn's atmospheric settings placidly unfold in elongated waves of hazy electric guitar and strings. The source instruments are rendered less identifiable due to Dunn's processing treatments, and consequently the tracks achieve a similarity of tone and abstraction. Exuding an understated grandeur, they float past as slowly and peacefully as clouds on a summer's day. Long-form reveries such as “An Evening with Dusty” and “Parkland” softly glimmer, calling to mind the enchantment of watching fireflies on a dark summer's night. One might reasonably ask whether releasing two hours of material is warranted when a single, hour-long disc would communicate Dunn's message as powerfully in half the time; the question is especially pertinent when the tracks collectively hew so faithfully to a single style. Nevertheless, for those who can't get enough of Dunn's music, the release will seem heavensent.

June 2012