Text 3 May 17 notes Kyle Bobby Dunn: Pastoral, harmonious beauty

Abstract, non-linear and atonal music are in their cryptic, demanding nature probably easiest to understand through visualization. Tones and harmonies evoke numerous images - often very vague and incoherent - that work together with just a great amount of fantasy and deep love for loose-textured music. Obviously, tones that are floating in musical vacuum for several minutes and harmonies that change just sporadically can’t bring nothing concrete or palpable to mind. Moreover, the projections and explanations of abstract music are inextricably connected to the listener and thus purely subjective. Drones can be perceived as dark and monotonous to one but ecstatic and colourful to somebody else. Points of view are uncountable and the story behind fully depends on the individuality.

Kyle Bobby Dunn’s music belong to the most imaginative and stimulating among his contemporaries. Stating Arvo Pärt, Erik Satie or Maurice Ravel as his greatest inspirations, his own work is situated between experimenting with drones and dark arrangements that are in an interesting contrast with delicate tones of piano and fine chords of strings. It may sound as cliché, but many of Dunn’s compositions sound as if you were possible to catch imaginary, quiet tones of old, sepia-coloured photo.

Although connecting music to particular season or weather is not only kitschy, but also simplifies and underrates the complexity of art, Kyle’s new album, Ways Of Meaning (released via Desire Path Recordings) feels appropriate for its early summer release. Firstly, the warmth and serenity of organ, the main instrument in here, makes the sound smooth and inherently harmonious. Secondly, Kyle’s composing language becomes somehow more concise and economical. Whereas his earlier works (mainly from his break-through A Young Person’s Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn) took tens of minutes, forty minutes are just enough for six songs/compositions on Ways Of Meaning. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean that the listener is dealing with fewer ideas; Kyle has rather made an unconscious decision to compress motives into more straightforward form.

The overall atmosphere on Ways Of Meaning is pastoral and celebratory; of course, this is a very introvert and secret joy that is reflected through an ubiquitous touch of harmony. The level of pleasure differs across the album: in the beginning, Kyle deals with just a silhouettes and memories appearing and vanishing in the mist of dreaming mind. Dropping Sandwiches in Chester Lake is but the introduction to the set of day-dreams and visions that become more palpable and concrete in following Statuit. Here, the mournful organ demonstrates its wide range: from caressing deepness to silently exhilarating highs. Peak of the glory and imagination comes in Canyon Meadows, which I earlier described as if the organ had the same pleasure of singing as humans do. Greater subtlety is evolved during the second half of Ways Of Meaning. In Movement For The Completely Fucked, Kyle reaches beautiful mournfulness which is delicately directed inwards rather than to burst and cry. However, satisfaction wins the battle over blueness and suffering; how can one be sad when he listens to such touching and sincere music?

In Touhy’s Theme Kyle thoughtfully takes all the motivic strings and calms the passion inside of them - whether ecstatic or lamenting - down. Despite the emotional sinusoid evolved during the album, the resultative feeling is calm contentment. And even though is Kyle’s latest album named Ways Of Meaning, the meaning is once again hidden in the long, glorious harmonies and waits for the listener to be found. After all, isn’t this the essential reason why we love exploring works of art?

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