Tuesday, April 19, 2011
REVIEW: Kyle Bobby Dunn "Ways Of Meaning" [Desire Path Recordings]
In short, the title for this new album by Brooklyn based ambient music composer Kyle Bobby Dunn leaves everything wide open for listener interpretation. At a single glance, it encourages you to strive to understand the album in its concepts and leaves you wanting to fully explore its intentions.
Perhaps it hints that the concept might be multi-dimensional with several hidden meanings and almost comes across as a sort of interactive listener challenge?
Upon closer inspection and after a skim through the press-release on the Desire Path Recordings website, it becomes apparent that the album refers to the actual resonance of memory itself. It is a complex subject concerning time and circumstance and many artists have explored this through great lengths of careful study and theory. Perhaps when this is allowed to take centre stage when presented as a record, the listener can become overwhelmed?
Instead for Kyle Bobby Dunn, 'Ways Of Meaning' is intended as a deeply personal recording: dealing with particular moments and circumstances throughout his life, offered out as a listening experience that can be related to in different ways by its consumer. With 'Ways Of Meaning', Dunn is affording the listener time and space to pick up and relate it to their own individual circumstances, at any given time.
In reference to the duration of sounds on offer, Dunn has condensed the epic proportions that we enjoy in 'A Young Person's Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn' to a single piece of vinyl, over two sides. The sounds find Dunn exploring an even more lulled and restful palette than previous excursions, which is really quite something! It's really quite hard to believe that based on Dunn's choice of titling for a particular track, something as tranquil as this would have a 'parental guidance, explicit content' sticker slapped on it if sold in a commercial record shop...
Through six peaceful movements, time stands on end whilst your mind wanders, reflecting on a shuffling collection of personal memories. In structure and tone, the music does seem to go back to basics; eminating the sorts of sounds that the pioneers of ambient music might have produced. It also seems to stand akin with the ambient sounds of the 1990s and early 2000s, which is why it seems apt that legendary producer James Plotkin has overseen the mastering of this record.
Desire Path are a fairly new label in the scene and were responsible for giving us Solo Andata's 'Ritual' last year and although albums are available digitally, it is vinyl editions that they specialise in.
With 'Ways Of Meaning', digital listeners will have the 'sleep tape' to end all sleep albums. But you have to feel here that the real reward on offer is to those who purchase the vinyl edition. Years of repeated listens for quiet reflection over a hot cup of coffee; each time with something new to contemplate.
Contrary to a sleepy night-time headphone journey or a dozy bus commute listen, the vinyl edition is a companion in which listeners can take their thoughts to. The record oozes warmth from the stylus and the emanating sound is assuringly positive...
Highly recommended, but it is particularly for those with a turntable who will enjoy the full effects of 'Ways Of Meaning'