For an album described as “some of the most brutally honest and complex” material of Kyle Bobby Dunn’s career, Bring Me The Head Of… is more warped and obscured than ever. Last year’s Ways Of Meaning was a very slight emergence from within the reverb, just enough to let detail announce itself among a haze of obfuscation. Melody started to take form, as though the clumps of free-floating drone on 2009’s A Young Person’s Guide To… had found common direction and alignment, like stray thoughts falling into focus. This new album is a redispersal of its elements; a recaptured sense of loss and disillusion, with structure teased out of shape and back into a senseless mass. Ways Of Meaning was a fleeting flash of understanding, and Bring Me The Head Of… is all the more heartbreaking for having tumbled back into the dark after a brief exposure to the glory of the light.
The most prominent feeling is detachment. It’s as though the album occupies this world, but lacks the ability to connect with it; Dunn is looking out from a bubble that blurs his vision and restricts days and nights to an eternity of slow motion, while life outside flies past in an intangible real time. Once again, his sound pool appears to consist of orchestra caught within thick, smudging veils of echo – notes peel away from the staves and hang shapelessly in the air, teased out of their musical arrangements and set free to drift past eachother like clouds, while the instruments themselves (strings? Oboe? Trombone?) melt and bend into pools of wood and gold.
In amongst the anti-melodious (but beautifully harmonious) streams of drone, there are tiny fractions of structure that bring back glimmers of Ways Of Meaning. “Diamond Cove (And Its Children Were Watching)” trades warm synthesiser chords solemnly like an early days Steve Roach, and the presence of actual melody within the giddying waves is striking; notes rise upward and fall back down in gorgeous parallels, before dispersing once more into the vapour of “The Troubles With Tres Belles”. But texture is nonetheless soft and formless even in these fleeting passages of melody, and after two hours of hearing sound as an anti-gravity goo, everything momentarily sounds surreally crisp and immediate as the album comes to a close. Detail and rhythm flood back in, like resurfacing into open air after spending aeons underwater.