Desert Island Discs #3: Kyle Bobby Dunn – Ending Of All Odds


When it comes to titling his pieces, Dunn seems to surpass all of his contemporaries; tracks can find themselves anywhere between wild tongue-in-cheek self-deprecation to sanguine French pretensions, sometimes to their detriment. It gives me no great pleasure to tell people that one of my favourite pieces of his goes by “Boring Foothills of Footfetishville” for example, its absurdism denting the deeply resonant core of the music itself, Dunn clearly shying away from the responsibility of its weight as he so often does. I’m sure that many of these seemingly silly titles have some unknown relevance, little in-jokes the listener isn’t privy to but attempts to glean some meaning from regardless, but few are as openly honest as “Ending Of All Odds”.

In a moment of unusual clarity and tinted with a surprising (but still minimal) optimism for Dunn, “Ending Of All Odds” captures an enchantingly woozy atmosphere in its detuned slidings and glowing supplementary drone airs. There’s no physical form here, just a ghost of a feeling that finds itself passing into history, its pitch-bent croonings dissolving with each pass as they melt into the shimmering haze of the backfield. Sometimes it comes across as possessing a homely warmth, a coziness lost in afternoon light and unburdened of anxieties as we perceive little creakings and other familiar yet inconsequential sounds, but like all of his material it can often come across quite differently.

Much of his appeal to me is the ability for his pieces to take on such different emotional qualities depending on my own state of mind; sometimes it does indeed feel cosy and replete, other times it seems to bask and wallow in loneliness, its otherwise ethereal airs a slow-motion cavalcade of mournful tunings, its guitar bendings twisted like distant cries suppressed and smeared out. As I’ve said before, Dunn captures the strange, multi-faceted mystery of emotion with unmatched grace, everything demanding exploration and reassessment. Regardless of which side you fall on at the time of listening, perhaps a blend of both, it still feels oddly comforting, a companion piece that serenades the listener as the elusive spirit of Dunn’s sentiments aren’t just wrought to evoke but also to offer a comforting shoulder to the suffering, a sympathetic quid pro quo for the quietly sad.

I do honestly feel like I could write an essay for every single one of his tracks (maybe I will!), as every new minute paints a slew of complex thoughts and fragile states of being with timeless beauty, but “Ending Of All Odds” is one of the more resonant and haunting moments in his catalogue for me, its bitesize crystalline brilliance an endlessly necessary aid through sleepless nights and hungover days. It’s rather comforting to know that, for those times when I feel down or just need something delicate and slightly melancholic to soundtrack my life to, KBD’s discography is close by and continuously relevant.