Kyle Bobby Dunn: In Miserum Stercus
Don't let Kyle Bobby Dunn's own characterization of In Miserum Stercus as “the most somber and depressing music I've ever made” scare you off. This vinyl release, his first for the Toronto-based Komino Records and available in a limited edition of 500 copies, is maybe the most satisfying set to date from the Canadian-born composer. It's not so much that the material is better than that presented on previous releases on Low Point, Kning Disk, Desire Path, and others so much as that the thirty-six-minute running time seems like the perfect amount. By comparison, Bring Me The Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn, the two-disc set he issued earlier this year on Low Point, seems longwinded. There's clearly something to be said for the concision the vinyl format imposes.
The opening piece, “Buncington Revisited,” is prototypical Dunn, a slow and solemn sojourn that courses for thirteen becalmed minutes through dew-soaked mists of fog and oozes melancholy from every blurry pore. “Lake Wapta Rise,” which exudes an early morning stillness that makes it all the more appealing, bears out his reputation as a minimalist, as Dunn uses a modicum of source elements to generate its wavering tones and overlapping textures. There's nothing accidental about the construction of the material, either; Dunn exercises masterful control in his artful shaping of the shimmering washes and slow swells that make up the five tracks' contents.Listeners looking for points of comparison will hear echoes of Stars Of The Lid in Dunn's style, and certainly Dunn isn't averse to undercutting the beauty of his sound with a jarring title in a manner similar to his admired counterparts—Dunn's “Meadowfuck (Waltz of the Nobodies)” would appear to be the natural progeny of Stars Of The Lid's “December Hunting For Vegetarian Fuckface” (from 2007's … And Their Refinement Of The Decline). It's the music that matters, of course, and in that regard In Miserum Stercus makes as strong a case for Dunn's processed ambient-drones music as one could imagine. His slow and stately serenades have never sounded more direct and fully realized as they do here.