Ambience and Nostalgia: An Interview With Kyle Bobby Dunn


Over the last decade, the music of Kyle Bobby Dunn has found the perfect balance between immersive ambience and deeply felt emotion, resonating with questions of nostalgia, melancholy, and transcendence. Dunn’s latest release is a split LP with Wayne Robert Thomas, in which each of the two musicians contributes one long composition. Their split LP will be released in early May. With its release looming, I talked with Dunn about the split’s origins, his own composition process, and how the two pieces relate to one another.

How did you two first meet? Did you share a bill somewhere, or was it more via mutual admiration of one another’s music?

Met on the interwebs like many people do these days. Met many a musician on the interwebs in my time but Wayne I personally really enjoyed the sound of and we had some mutual respects and ideas for guitar.

When did the idea of doing a split LP first come to mind?

I thought Wayne’s own solo recordings were very moving and balanced my own guitar music out in a ghostly way so it was sort of a concept recording for us both without thinking of anything in particular but came out dramatically referencing many things and histories.

How would you say your contribution to this LP works in context with the other side?

Mine is the opening suite. It`s starts like if a historical film was going back in time but all the way to the beginning and covering the dinosaurs, the downfall of societies, the wars, the great Western migration and it has a feeling of not ending – the piece I mean.. it holds onto some sun soaked melodies until it fades out like a human or animal takes its last breath. Wayne`s counterpoint reminds me of what I often think of in terms of what happens after this life. I am not religious but I feel that even after your own body and mind goes there exists all that around you still and those places and people you touched while you were on earth. I think of it as very American music and I was strongly influenced by American Western films and history over the years and in light of the way the country seems to be dissolving it seemed appropriate I would pair my American-influenced musical theme with a young Midwestern musician who is not super well known but incredibly authentic.

What was the process like, for each of you, as far as recording your compositions?

I enjoyed working on this piece all at home on the guitar and hadn`t been recording a lot of new music since the 2014 triple album release. So it was good to go back to those same methods that brought that album to life to see there could still be some newness after all these years. I thought about so many things that filter into this new piece that the song `The Searchers` is almost like an album within a song. I almost feel like both of our works on this release are. It`s an environment piece too – so people should listen to it in grand old operas, large caves out west or large Olympic swimming pools to get the full effect of the music.

Both of your compositions deal with questions of memory and nostalgia. How do you go about translating that into music?

Yes many personal memories in this new suite but also my mind’s own ideas of the past and nostalgia for time that never belonged to me on this earth. But the others before me. I think music is so much the raw art form of human feeling. We can rarely if ever translate our actual human emotions or feelings into words so instrumental and often classical music has been the go to for so many over the centuries. I always wanted my music to send shivers back to me while recording and listening back to it and more often than not it does that for me. I can`t say it works for everyone and it certainly never was intended for everyone but I am so glad people get some of their own feels out of listening.


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