Kyle Bobby Dunn – From Here To Eternity (PITP, 2019)

Five and a half years ago, the cat died. It’s difficult for some people to understand the damage that losing a pet has, people that don’t own animals don’t understand that bonding: I knew him for 14 years, hard to believe now. After that length of time they’re not just pets, mere animals, they’re friends and family. Moreso indeed than many people have ever been to me. Mum said that she would never have another cat again after him, she couldn’t bear the thought of “replacement”: he was singular, and we were his as much as he was ours.

Not long after, about this time five years ago actually, I got my hands on Dunn’s previous epic, Infinite Sadness. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing at the time, it was a record that felt like it was tapping into my soul. University life was hurtling to a close, romantic life was disillusioned and confusing, the death still lingered in our minds; I was trapped between worlds, on the cusp of disappearing into adult life and things were so close to spiralling out of control. It was perfect.

I’ve found myself in so many situations since that time, good and bad, and have turned to that record for guidance and comfort. It hovers so gracefully between light and dark that one can never always be sure that if what you’re hearing is melancholia or cosiness, it just seems to suit so many quiet moments. I had thought that it would be the last great hurrah for Kyle, the zenith of his vision attained in some sad, sweeping triumph, and I could live with that. There’s no two ways about it, I see it as his magnum opus and I share an intimate connection with it forged by circumstance and time. It transcends explanation and has shared as much with me as I have in return, it is impossible to understate the significance of that record to me.

I didn’t fully appreciate it until, in my excitement at new material, I listened to From Here To Eternity, but I had become my mum’s sentiment. Whilst I don’t see FHTE as “replacement”, in much the same way as getting a new pet doesn’t replace the previous animal, it’s not the same. Time’s have changed, I’ve changed, and it’s painful to admit that something doesn’t mean quite as much to you as it could, or more importantly affect you in the ways you know it should. I know what she meant now, of the prospect of something unfairly living in the shadow of something or someone that came before, their uniqueness and idiosyncrasies overlooked or constantly judged against the predecessor

I can’t talk to you about From Here To Eternity, it’s not right. Do not for one moment think that this is a criticism of the album or some show of negativity; if that were the case I wouldn’t have bothered to write anything at all. It’s the very fact that this has its own personality and distinct differences from Infinite Sadness that makes it too difficult, too painful, to approach. There are some career defining moments here that I know I’ll come back to many times, like the ethereal nostalgia of gorgeous “Years Later Theme”, or the epic saga of unparalleled Drone essentialism in “September & Her Sudden Drones”. The same goes for muted and aged beauty “Alpine ’88” or the sublime envelopment of mid-album “The Flattening”, all of which have distinctly captured my attention.

The time just isn’t right for this beast as a whole; perhaps this has something to do with my growing disenchantment with Ambient generally or some change in my emotional character, or some combination of the two I don’t know. All I know is there’s a massive and beautiful album here just waiting to be loved the way it deserves, biding its time for me to become morose enough to fall for its charms. Just, not right now.