Friday, April 8, 2011

Ways Of Meaning - Kyle Bobby Dunn (Spring Albums 2011)

Ways Of Meaning

Kyle Bobby Dunn
Desire Path Recordings.

SCQ Rating: 83%

Little about Kyle Bobby Dunn’s new album explicitly suggests spring listening although, really, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything explicit in the minimalist composer’s tonal exercises. Bearing an ambiguous sense of beauty quite capable of scoring fall or winter with nearly the same resonance, Ways Of Meaning fits the spring season best because it represents a sort of clean slate. The heart of Dunn’s style hasn’t changed – those sterile yet emotional sound-waves remain lovingly intact – but his modus operandi feels renewed, his approach further refined.

Spanning six tracks and forty minutes, Ways Of Meaning marks Dunn’s gentle transition from airy sound-environments to precise ambient pieces. Curtailing the length of his compositions by about half, Dunn has taken a risk; after all, part of A Young Person’s Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn’s allure was getting lost in twenty-minute slabs of undulating mood. Ways Of Meaning still offers that escape from discernable structure with the fifteen-minute ‘Movement For the Completely Fucked’ but the rest of these tracks (most between five and six minutes in length) dive straight into the emotional complexity of Dunn’s temperament. These highlights are better described in moods than instrumental dissection; from the resolute glory of ‘Canyon Meadows’ to the stifled uncertainty of ‘Touhy’s Theme’, Dunn showcases his knack for warm tones with an immediacy that’s borderline addictive.

Whether smitten by the soothing cascade of ‘Dropping Sandwiches In Chester Lake’ or the nostalgic atmospheres of ‘Statuit’ (which sort of recall The Cure’s ‘Funeral Party’, no?), listeners will come to recognize this as the most accessible release of Dunn’s young career. Still straddling the blurred line between post-classical and ambient, ignorable yet listenable, Ways Of Meaning is both purposeful and voraciously consumable.

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