Monday, November 29, 2010
Last month Mr. Kyle Bobby Dunn was kind enough to send me a copy of his new EP, Rural Route #2, but I had the busiest November anyone has ever had, ever, so I am just now getting around to reviewing it. Apologies to Mr. Dunn.
After Dunn's last outing, a two disc compilation that contained nearly two hours of material, this EP feels quite short by comparison. There are two tracks, totaling just over twenty minutes of music. While this may sound disappointing to some, I hasten to comment that it is a very satisfying twenty minutes. Ambient music is a genre in which it can be quite difficult to distinguish oneself from the crowd. It's very easy to make bad ambient, but very hard to make something unique and personal. Either you go dark and sound like Lustmord or you go light and sound like Stars of the Lid. Dunn, however, has successfully managed to carve out some middle ground here, sounding like no one but himself.
The lovely thing about these two tracks is that they are spacious enough to allow the listener room to insert his own thoughts into the music. Many artists falter in trying to create a sonic landscape, and end up crowding out their audience. Here, on the other hand, one gets the impression of standing in a vast open plain. To the North is a city of glistening metal, curiously silent from this distance; to the South a mountain range stands shrouded in mist; to the East, sharp cliffs overlook a churning, overcast sea; to the West there is a forest of stately, antidiluvian pines. There rea landmarks to be sure, but we are allowed enough freedom to choose our own path. That is what makes a good ambient record.
Despite its brevity, I believe Rural Route #2 to be a vast improvement over his last release. Dunn seems to have really found his voice here, and I would recommend this record to anyone seeking knew vitality in a genre that easily becomes stale and repetitive.