Review: Kyle Bobby Dunn – A Young Person’s Guide To…

A Young Person’s Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn seems to channel noise and reverberations that have always existed. So natural is the way in which these sounds throb and mutate that it’s hard to imagine any human thought lying behind the composition. It’s a double disc which, when listened to in the right conditions, appears to occupy no time at all, provoking a very dreamlike mezmerisation and causing all sorts of watery visuals to ooze into the imagination.

It’s a modest work, utilizing a minimalism to bring its daunting depth to light and a deceptive stereo field to make sounds appear from everywhere at once and nowhere in particular. The timbres of strings and brass are just identifiable in amongst the blur of reverb, but otherwise these sounds feel completely unattributable to standard instruments – they’re just thick streams of harmony, seeping out to the far corners and bouncing softly off of the walls. Comparisons can be drawn to Stars of the Lid in places; both artists seem to dip into the idea of infinite space and create a completely tranquil atmosphere in their suspended drones and warm chord surges.

It’s a gorgeous experience, and one which is ever so slightly shadowed by some needlessly melodramatic track titles – in particular, “There Is No End To Your Beauty” and “Sets Of Four (Its Meaning Deeper Than Its Title Implies)”. They feel too garish, suggesting a work less subtle and quietly spoken, placing pieces explicitly in an emotional context instead of letting the music speak for itself.

But A Young Person’s Guide… is best listened to as a single experience anyway – listener attention isn’t really drawn to particular tracks and so these titles largely go unnoticed. It’s music to sink into and forget. The fact that it’s a double disc doesn’t only feel appropriate in this case – it’s essential, and allows the listener to relish in their ambient escape and feel their consciousness blissfully melt away.