Released in the wake of his goliath long player 'Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn' on Low Point earlier this year, 'In Miserum Stercus' stretches those snatches of Dunn's brooding melancholy that were hidden under the calm euphoria of his last release across an entire record, standing as, according to the artist, Dunn's "most somber and depressing music" to date. Whilst instrumentally this release doesn't differ from his previous efforts, sonically we see Dunn's processed guitar and classical instrumentation begin fade beneath ever-tighter noise gates and waves of decay until all that is left are mere fragments and half sounds where one (on previous releases) may have experienced towering walls of soft tonality. This sonic metamorphosis has indeed been a while in coming; with ‘Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn’ as the swansong of his larger-scale works, Dunn is here seen moving on from the ambient leviathans that brought him into the scene towards more direct, sparse, focussed compositions perhaps more in leu with the work of Fennesz or ‘The Darker Sex’-era Danielle Baquet-Long under her ‘Chubby Wolf’ moniker.
Opening the record with twelve-minute epic 'Buncington Revisited' - one of Dunn's finest works of measured ambient melancholy to date - 'In Miserum Stercus' can only be compared in its use of beautifully restrained emotion to that most harrowing Celer release, 'I Love You So Much I Can't Even Title This (The Light That Never Goes Out Went Out)'. Indeed, on only one listen, it is evident that this release - with its perfectly executed and completely uncontrived air of melancholy - is Dunn’s journey through some very bleak emotional terrain; both of the A side compositions, 'Buncington Revisited' and 'Lake Wapta Rise' carve half sounds and unresolved harmonies into a soundtrack to raw, genuine hopelessness, and whilst 'In Praise Of Tears' and the fantastically titled 'Meadowfuck' on the B side attempt to morph those pains into beautiful catharsis, miniature album-closer 'The Milksop' sees Dunn suddenly regress and end where he began, in a state of utterly paralysing loss.
Indeed, it is this sense of everything unravelling within ‘In Miserum Stercus’ that gives the release an odd sense of urgency - one that sets this release out as not merely Dunn’s most down- beat work emotionally, but as one that leaves the listener in an in-between place, where drawing an emotional response to these compositions is, on attempt, suddenly far harder than first assumed. ‘In Miserum Stercus’ will definitely not please the entirety of Dunn’s fanbase, but creates a far more perplexing and genuinely interesting image of Dunn as a musician for those whom it does. Dunn’s Komino Records debut is released on the twenty seventh of November.
Preorder here, out 27th November
Review by Max Hampshire