“Dunn’s compositions here are fully rich in timbre, painterly, hopelessly romantic and haunting;balanced between a wash of pure sound and an ornate yet subtle dance of classical instrumentation. Occupying a truly cinematic scope, these pieces can transport the listener from the deepest and most forgotten landscapes to the furthest recesses of time.” – From the press release at Low Point’s website
Kyle Bobby Dunn is a 21st century classical composer, minimalist drone, ambient, and sound artist who is currently based in New York. His albums have been reviewed in high places such as Pitchfork, Boomkat, and some other popular magazines, websites, and blogs. Luckily, I get to be next to review this new double album.
It isn’t much of a surprise that I would be reviewing an album that contains classical, minimalist, drone, and ambient soundscapes, concerning that I had also reviewed Stars of the Lid, Gas, and Coral Orange. However, I do love drone and ambient music, often to the point that sometimes, I rarely listen to anything else. The thing that is so special about drone and ambient music is that it allows you to enter a new space or a new world of some sort. Sometimes, it makes for great reading music, such as reading “House of Leaves,” or perhaps using it to help induce sleep, relaxation, calm and peace. However, I sometimes listen to it right up front, and let myself be immersed into the layers of sound it provides. Once you listen to drone and ambient music in the foreground, it changes you, and it’s hard to go back.
Kyle Bobby Dunn’s double album, “A Young Person’s Guide To,” which, of course, sounds like a title that Stars of the Lid would pen, is a huge album of compositions that were written in the past 6 years. Some of the tracks on the first disc are actually from a previously released album called “Fervency.” Like Stars of the Lid, Dunn here is a great master at composing for ensembles of what sounds like strings, brass, and woodwind instruments, and electronically manipulating these sounds to create dense ambient pieces that express a wide range of emotions. The opening piece, “Butel”, is an almost 18 minute long piece of droning bliss, slowly changing throughout. The second piece, however, “The Tributary (For Voices Lost),” is one of the best classical pieces I’ve ever heard. Majestic sounding and beautifully produced, if anyone were to pick some of the top modern-classical pieces of 2010, this would be high on my list.
Many of the pieces are like this, to varying degrees. Some have just piano, others have electronic noises in the mix, and even some of the pieces remind me of shoegaze drone gone classical, so to speak. It’s just a very beautiful album, and it’s sad enough that I don’t have much more words for it. It’s just one of those albums that you listen to, and are just completely overwhelmed with when it’s over. An album that leaves you at a lost for words.
If you have ever listened to drone and highly enjoyed it like I have, you will find this album to be a treat. Furthermore, if you are interested in listening to drone for the first time, and are wondering what album to get, I highly recommend this album for you. I have no doubts nor complaints about this album. Probably the greatest drone work of the new decade.
Album: A Young Person’s Guide To
Artist: Kyle Bobby Dunn
Released in 2010 by Low Point
You can buy it from Low Point here: http://lowpoint.bandcamp.com/album/a-young-persons-guide-to-kyle-bobby-dunn