» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Kyle Bobby Dunn
A Young Person's Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn
Low Point

Rating: 7.4/10 ?

April 12, 2010
Subtlety is lost on some by defintion. If the nature of being nuanced wasn't so fundamentally complex and therefore difficult to understand, what would be the point in making the distinction between what is skillfully crafted and carelessly arranged? There are plenty of examples of work displaying superficial signifiers of fine distinction without any of the actual substance or appreciation that rewards one for deciphering a genuinely intricate creation. The merit of style can be debated endlessly and often is, but what does one make of something that is seemingly not stimulating? What can be made of something that just is?

Take A Young Person's Guide to Kyle Bobby Dunn a two-sided ambient anthology by, you guessed it, Brooklyn composer Kyle Bobby Dunn. Here he presents a variable concoction of placid hums, moans, and longform drones, in 7-11 minute increments. Dunn's digital blanket of sound uses a wider array of tools than one would expect from a genre long dominated by synthesizers and electronics: guitar, strings, and brass. The result serves as a suitable incubator for meditation on a close listen, or a sublime background when taken casually.

The "tracks" are constant and static; a sort of perpetual underwater elevator music for the citizens of a parallel (albeit slow-motion) universe. If one's reaction to this experience could be considered a barometer for their current state of mind, Guide serves as a sort of auditory Rorschach test. Whether it tries your patience, lulls you into a calm state or reverent bliss, or simply fails to register it must be noted that although the music is understated it is nevertheless tangible and significant; perhaps an unfamiliar encounter but arguably a worthwhile one.

The fact that at first it may be difficult to process something so simple suggests that maybe we've collectively come to define music very narrowly. We are increasingly exposed to music expressed in its most commercial, accessible form: verse, chorus, bridge, lyrics that rhyme, beat typically in 4/4 time. Dunn's music represents a middle way, a sidestep from pop music's largely escapist purpose that largely deals in shades of gray rather the pastels and neons that bombard us daily. Attempt to dwell on the indistinct, strain to perceive the understated dynamics while resisting the overwhelming urge to seek instant gratification or use this music to transcend the pluralistic and ambiguous reality of the mundane instead of avoiding it. Or put it on while you do the dishes, either way.

Reviewed by Eric Collin Wedgewood

See other reviews by Eric Collin Wedgewood



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