Kyle Bobby Dunn‘s trade is, simply put, drone: the constant wall of shifting, overarching sound. It seems that Dunn’s release schedule is just as constant, over the past nine or so years releasing drone in every musical format and every possible length, impressively coming up with fresh, interesting things to say every few months. But the most surprising piece of all this is that no two releases are identical, that each one has something new to offer.
On Ways of Meaning, Dunn stretches his tones as far as they’ll go, seemingly working in a world where attack is non-existent, where sounds come and go without any point of entry or exit. The other major change is that the pieces here are surprisingly brief, as far as a drone album goes. Album opener “Dropping Sandwiches (In Chester Lake)” works in mixed harmonies, at times magically finding the expected notes and flowering into strange distances at others. “Canyon Meadows” soars and lilts, giving off the quality of a National Geographic soundtrack. There’s a sweet fragility that breaks out of the air on much of the disc, a summer day beauty that other sound sources and/or less adept musicians couldn’t capture.
However, Dunn is at his best when he gives his ideas time to breath. The nearly fifteen minute “Movement for the Completely Fucked” includes, at various points across its distance, moments that echo the strengths of each of the shorter tracks. The rhythmic echoes and swirls of tones are there, as well as the chiming bright sky wooziness, and the airy, breezy nothingness. The darker aspects of album closer “Touhy’s Theme” convey a new thought, though, one that Dunn would be wise to look at in the near future. And considering Dunn’s prolific recording schedule, it’ll probably be much sooner rather than later.