Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kyle Bobby Dunn - A Young Persons Guide To... (2010)

Kyle Bobby Dunn is a Brooklyn based sound artist who enjoys creating long, minimal pieces of atmospheric ambient music. "A Young Person's Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn" is his most large scale release to date, a sprawling set of tracks that unfold over two discs and runs for almost two hours. Listening to such lengthy works in their entirety is usually a daunting task, placing large demands on the listener's patience and attention span, but in this case the music is such that it can function as a pleasant backdrop just as easily as an active listening experience.

So what does the music sound like? Well, it actually sounds a lot like Stars of the Lid. Warm droning textures fade in and out over the course of the lengthy tracks, evoking tranquil thoughts of far away places where there are no deadlines and nothing to worry about. Dunn seems to have embraced Eric Satie's concept of furniture music, and his compositions sit nicely in the corners of any room, unobtrusively coloring the atmosphere in shades of beige.

There is little variation in sound across the album's running time, although a few splashes of restrained piano, tasteful electronic swirls, and some field recordings of animals and water make for some nice flavor here and there. The one spot where the sense of profound calm is disturbed lies at the end of the second track "The Tributary (For Voices Lost)," which concludes with a deep, deep bass rumble that may shake the teeth right out of your head (or at least blow out your speakers.) The album confusingly ends with a human voice persistantly asking "Looking at yourself?" to which another voice confidently replies "Yeah."

Overall, this is a record that will appeal to those of you who feel that modern ambient has become far too "busy" and would like to see a return to the Brian Eno-Harold Budd roots of the genre. The sounds are very soothing and enjoyable, and the length is such that by the end of it you will almost certainly be lulled into a relaxed state of inner peace. Certainly one of the more meditative records I've come across in recent years.

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