Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn - Kyle Bobby Dunn

A Young Person’s Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn

Kyle Bobby Dunn
Low Point Records.

SCQ Rating: 80%

Oh, what navel-gazing, hopeless romantics we ambient music fans are. Always finding cinematic qualities from the everyday and poignant memories within delicate notes, we’re the types destined to languish in armchairs between drawn-out drones and street-car seats overlooking tonal hues. Agents of immobility, daydreamers with good intentions. Yet in spite of our demeanor – us ambient children are pretty docile – the overabundance of composers in the genre often tempts us to bite the hand that feeds. Since the birth of Muzak Inc. in the 1950s, the notion of background music has divided into several overarching sects and, of these divisions (field-recordings, laptop-based, ambient-techno, new age, etc.), finding an album tagged with your personal slice of ambience, the form you love and admire, can be surprisingly difficult.

A Young Person’s Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn is not only a collection that amasses Dunn’s 2009 effort Fervency with an additional record’s worth from those sessions; it’s a beginner’s guide to all that’s untarnished and genuine about the ambient that Brian Eno philosophized in 1978, that Stars Of the Lid have carried so vigilantly into the twenty-first century. How Kyle Bobby Dunn, a young person himself, learned to measure these orchestral undercurrents with a majesty worthy of such contemporaries is beyond me, yet there’s undeniable wisdom at work throughout this near two-hour set. From the complacent urgency throbbing at the fringes of ‘Promenade’ to the light-beam swimming-pool of ‘There Is No End To Your Beauty’, A Young Person’s Guide To… coats its atmospheres to the corners of rooms and the horizons of one’s travels… which is to say, the sole talent ambient music has always boasted freely about: the ability to paint our everyday perspective with surrealist tones. Tracks like ‘Nightjar’, which stealthily harbours minor-key shadows, and the refined hope of ‘The Tributary (For Voices Lost) handily accomplish this expectation without leading its listener through pre-planned moods. Not only does this uncalculated approach to ambient music score points as an objective emotional soundtrack, it allows us to work this record in, like a pair of new sneakers, on our own terms.

A no-brainer for any ambient-loving, anxiety-addled or daydream-prone music-lover, A Young Person’s Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn gathers a sound seemingly borne of particles, closer in kinship to concrete hums and melting frost than the sighing drones, feather-light keys and distant brass that assemble these compositions. It functions as mood-music, sure, but these tracks quietly transgress their origin-points, ushering in the uneasy (as on the nightmarish close of ‘Butel’) as well as the elegiac (on ‘Sets Of Four’’s lone piano). An essential companion for time spent alone.

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