Kyle Bobby Dunn:
A Young Person's Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn
Headphones are truly needed to appreciate the beauty of the work NY-based minimalist composer Kyle Bobby Dunn spreads across two CDs on this exceptional release from Low Point. Listened to at low volume sans headphones, the material reads like long-tone works of minimal character produced by instruments of unidentifiable character; listened to up close and with all its detail clearly heard, the listener is caught up in the music's ebb and flow and catches glimpses of the guitar, strings and brass instruments whose sounds Dunn reworked using computer processing into the recording's final form (on the inner sleeve, the material is credited to Kyle Bobby Dunn & His Ensemble and a long list of musical contributors are identified by name, though not by instrument). A Young Person's Guide To… couples four tracks on disc one that originally appeared as the download-only album Fervency on Moodgadget in 2009 with an hour of additional material produced during the same period as the Fervency recordings.
Dunn's music is so much about balance and understatement, with each graceful piece calibrated ever so precisely with respect to volume, density, and pacing. Tones overlap, blend, swell, recede, and advance in twelve settings that unfold with an unhurried calm for almost two hours. The mood is tranquil, and the style a painterly melding of classical, ambient, and drone. Individual instruments move to the forefront and then just as surreptitiously retreat, as Dunn teases a single voice out of the mass and then shifts the focus to another. “Butel” features endlessly patient guitar unfurl, withingagitation seeps in near the end when strings appear; “Promenade” intoxicates with radiant shimmer when its instruments swell into keening masses. While “Grab (And Its Lost Legacies)” and the elegiac “Bonaventure's Finest Hour” feel like the most peaceful morning at the seashore and a gentle wind blowing across the countryside, respectively, “Empty Gazing” is blurry and hazy, suggestive of a storm advancing. The real world intrudes into the second disc on occasion—towards the end of “The Nightjar” one hears mens' voices and the lullaby-like piano piece, “Sets of Four (Its Meaning Is Deeper Than Its Title Implies),” is augmented by natural sounds in the immediate environment (a second piano piece, a hazy interlude called “Last Minute Jest,” also appears). The impressionistic pieces included in this superb document of Dunn's work are very Celer-like in spirit, and one might also think of LaMonte Young, Harold Budd, and Wiliam Basinski while listening to the recording.