Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn
Kyle Bobby Dunn
Low Point Records.
SCQ Rating: 81%
Few catalogs in the ambient genre prove as bizarre and beguiling as Kyle Bobby Dunn’s. Intensely personal – enough so that Dunn’s name features into his album titles with the same proclivity as Weezer dedicating records to Crayola colours – and unerringly shapeless, it’s the traits that some might view as hindrances that give Dunn’s post-classical soundscapes their memorable hue. It helps that he’s also quite prolific. Since being introduced with A Young Person’s Guide To… in the winter of 2010, shortly after I moved to snowy Ottawa, my iTunes has grown to contain no less than five hours of subsequent Kyle Bobby Dunn material. And that’s not even all of it.
Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn finds the Brooklyn-based artist transitioning again, away from last spring’s concise Ways Of Meaning LP and into the long-form, double-record ambitions of yore. Which brings me to Dunn’s other noteworthy trademark – his uniformity. With so many releases spawned from a minimalist’s palette, it’s a testament to his blurred compositions that Bring Me the Head Of… maintains the fresh feel of what is ultimately another tribute to solitude. With instrumentation that sounds more comparable to streetlights at dusk, quiet sidewalks and hazy memories than guitar, strings or other tools designed to emanate sound, “The Hungover” and “La Chanson de Beurrage” lurch gracefully in circles that usher an emotional resonance to surface. Other tracks make their impact quicker: “An Evening With Dusty” presents a nostalgic drone-piece while “Diamond Cove (And Its Children Were Watching)” cuts directly to the gooey center of a climax without forsaking its atmosphere. Like all of Dunn’s releases, however, the best tracks unveil themselves slowly over multiple listens, and appeal on the grounds of personal sensitivities rather than any tangible, melodic qualities. It’s why “Douglas Glen Theme” floors me and I can’t properly explain why.
Over the past two years, Kyle Bobby Dunn has indeed become one of my favourite ambient artists, even when acknowledging that his releases don’t arouse a level of excitement that befits the occasion. Listening intently to these transient drones doesn’t have nearly the effect as trying to ignore them does, as if Dunn’s insisting that we absorb these tonal landscapes into our personal lives with the same casualness by which he seemingly accumulated them. As such, it’s impossible for me to hear Bring Me the Head Of… without reflecting on my impending move from Ottawa and all of the memories I can link to Dunn’s evocative output during my time here. Bearing the same faultless uniformity as before, Bring Me the Head Of… defies any ranking amidst Dunn’s discography. Instead, I can only promise that it’s as potent, inspiring and cryptic as the others.