My wife and I often recall the good old days when musicians turned out masterpieces at a post-pubescent age. There’s still hope for us, though, when people like Nico Muhly or this brilliant young man here, Kyle Bobby Dunn, can make us smile again after years of bleeping cell phones, Playstations and too many idiot recordings that sound like a Commodore 64 failing in the summer sun. Dunn is only 22 – he was born in Toronto in 1986 – but he already seems to know how to rub the magic lamp of creativity in the right way. Between 2005 and 2007 he recorded a host of academically trained instrumentalists, before reconfiguring their orchestral hues into utter radiance through masterful processing. The easiest definition of the compositional method is, once again (climb aboard, label-seekers), minimalism. No mathematical formulae, geometric intersections or skeletal materials, though: this is a work that makes the most of slowly unfolding near-immobility bathed in melancholy and dejection, a record so full of regret that someone tuning in at the right (or wrong) moment could be devastated. Touching on issues such as “…the nothingness of being, indifference, the ephemeral, the bleak and the misery of mid-winter and mid-summer”, Dunn explores one of this writer’s favourite areas of sound-related human examination, that special place where even the slightest scent of a flower can transport us back to the long-gone joys of childhood discovery. The whole album reflects this mental disposition, but if you were to single out a track as “exemplary”, it would have to be “An Extension”, a veritable cross between Eno ca. Discreet Music, Basinski’s crumbled memories and a heartbreakingly mournful Roedelius (listen to that desolate, from-the-other-room piano). Exactly calibrated nuances, precisely weighed ingredients. The future for this composer looks bright indeed.


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