Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kyle Bobby Dunn (SCQ's Year-End Questionnaire (Part III)

Had I not heard of Kyle Bobby Dunn when his compilation A Young Person’s Guide To… was introduced last winter, I no doubt would’ve several dozen times since. Not only has the ambient composer already followed up that double-release with an entry in Standard Form’s Rural Route series, he’s also just released the cassette Pour Les Octaves. Keeping in stride, Dunn set aside some time to discuss 2010 in all its accomplishments and disappointments. (Photo by Nicholas Zieg Owens.)

SCQ: Every list-lover's favourite question: what are your top albums of 2010? Feel free to include any older yet worthy records you discovered this year.

KBD: I was rather disappointed overall in 2010. Maybe it's just a sign of the times, but the new music released this year was just really insufferable. Actually the new Beach House was okay. I think one of the best things i heard all year and have still listened to quite a lot is the new infinite body album, "carve out the face of my god." I was into some of the new Ariel Pink album for a second. But, best release must be the new Arvo Pärt recording on ECM, 'Symphony No. 4, Los Angeles' which I think is due out officially tomorrow.

But most of this year was dipped in re-discovering and lathering myself in older recordings and soundtrack music from long ago and that reminded me of childhood and old times.

SCQ: What were you listening to a lot of while recording your excellent compilation A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn? And did you dive into any nostalgic listening while recording the ode-to-home Rural Route No. 2?

KBD: Well that was years ago, for the most part. I think at the time it was a lot of Morton Feldman, Stuart Dempster, Oren Ambarchi's Grapes from the Estate, William Basinski, Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters, Bach, Chopin... The Rural Route was recorded a few years back as well, 2006... while in Calgary I was surrounded by a lot of 80's rock radio but I did do some nostalgic listening to old recordings I remembered from my childhood in Calgary, like Arvo Pärt, Valentin Silvestrov, Ligeti, Komeda, Penderecki, Wagner, Satie ...

SCQ: Be cocky for once in your life: what was the finest thing you did all year? That moment where you actually thought "shit, I nailed that..."?

KBD: It's been a pretty sad year to be honest. I am looking forward to this performance coming up this week at the First Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn Heights, near my place - as it's the first time I am performing in a grand 19th century cathedral and with a sizable string and horn section. I hope I can nail it. Other than that I am fortunate I got so much good cheese and food in the old loin this year.

(Editorial Note: Kyle was kind enough to send a picture taken at the performance. Photo snapped by Derek Morton.)

SCQ: Effect and Cause: My initial listens to your double-album occurred just past midnight, as it accompanied me on walks to meet my girlfriend after her evening shifts. That listening happenstance soon became tradition and your work now regularly breathes over midnight wanderings. Okay, your turn: confess a true tale that inspired one of the songs from A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn.

KBD: That's interesting - a lot of midnight wanderings occurred for me while writing and piecing it together. And wanderings in general actually. Each piece has a lot to do with afterthought and it's probably obvious in the song names and moods. I remember arriving in Alberta in 2006 to see my cousin and his girlfriend whom I'd not seen in years. We drove out to Kananaskis country one late summer's eve and walked and squandered among an old tributary and picnic area. We ran into some very serious quiet moments and thus arose the inspiration for The Tributary movement. I mean all are very personal and a bit self-involved. Butel is about a sexy vegan ex-girlfriend...

SCQ: If all the reasonable and implausible ideas in your head came to fruition in 2011, what would they be?

KBD: Being a bit more open, comfortable (in different ways), and taking things a bit more slowly and at ease. I've become really paranoid and confused this past year, and I hope that goes away.

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