Clouds of warm minimalist drifts gather, float and shift in Kyle Bobby Dunn’s latest release, Ways of Meaning. With organ and guitar as its main sound sources, Ways of Meaning tends toward an organic feel, breath-driven and earthy, but still capable of flight. In places it takes on a choral, church-music feel that invites you to quietly join in the hushed reverence–not a religious reverence, of course, but the reverence of reflection, a reverence for the self. “Statuit” begins with echoing pipe-organ chords played with a soft hand, the sounds ringing upward. Bass notes rumble intermittently through the congregated sounds. The structure is almost hymnal in its simplicity and repetition. The drones in “New Pures” quickly disappear into your head, taking you with them, only to call your notice to them later as they rise in sound. A low, pulsating sound closes out the track. Dunn’s also capable of lifting the sounds up in intensity; “Canyon Meadows” is vibrant and bold, filled with shimmering string sounds, raspy violin notes buzzing through a deep tangle of drones. The notes seem to zig and zag like dragonflies until the last minute where Dunn lets them fade and simplify.
Unlike a lot of drone work, five of the six pieces here are brief–7 minutes or under, tending to land in the 4-5 minute range. It then becomes more interesting to consider how much Dunn is able to pack into those tight spaces without overpacking them. The stories get told, the feelings get conveyed, but nothing happens in a rush. He takes one track, “Movement for the Completely Fucked,” and gives himself a more drone-worthy 15 minutes to express it. It begins with a cautious whisper, the voice slowly gaining confidence and presence. It expresses itself with an edge of melancholy (a thread running through several of the tracks) that deepens with the addition of more sounds, more voices. The slow build at work is a pleasure to listen to, and the additions can sneak up on you. Thin becomes thick before you know it, and you’re gladly buried beneath the density.
Ways of Meaning is another great addition to Dunn’s rapidly growing body of work. Quiet, reflective and perfectly pieced together. An excellent release for just sitting back, listening and thinking. Let it loop.
Available for Desire Path Recordings.