Boomkat Product Review:
Feted producer/engineer Randall Dunn etches his name in the pantheon of doom with ‘Beloved’, his first solo vessel following over 400 credits on records by Sunn 0))), Earth, Tim Hecker, and Six Organs of Admittance, among so many others. Highly recommended if you're into Vangelis, 0PN, Scott Walker, Wolves In The Throne Room...
Active in the producer/engineer/mixing seat since 1996, Dunn’s tact with early analog and digital synthesisers and feel for instrumental integrity is key to a vast swathe of modern classics from the doom realm. On ‘Beloved’ he finally puts those prized skills at the service of his staggering debut album, poetically framing vocal and instrumental offerings from Zola Jesus, Shahzad Ismaily and Eyvind Kang, a.o., within vast, parallel, electro-acoustic dimensions shot thru with shocking emotive pathos.
Inspired by the wisdom of age and a period of psychic stress, ’Beloved’ truly renders the full, magnificent scope of Dunn’s 3rd eye. With a cinematic/psychedelic grasp of dramaturgy that perhaps only comes from subsuming one’s own vision at the service of others, his first solo side unfurls a billowing tapestry in seven parts, finely limning a sort of hellish opera a la latter Scott Walker or, indeed, his own work with skilful scene setters, Wolves In The Throne Room.
Shoring up in desolate synth space with opener ‘Amphidromic Point’, visually mirrored in O’Malley’s cover art of a warped beach scene, the album evolves purposefully into the ante-chamber music of ‘Lava Rock & Amber’, making stunning use of a string trio plus clarinet, Buchla easel and Minimoog, before delivering the stone cold blow of Frank Fisher’s pre-dawn blues vocal and Carpenter-esque synth strokes on ‘Something About That Night’. In terms of sheer scale of space and haunting potential, however, the keening chorales of ‘Theoria/Aleph’ strongly resonate with classic ventures by Phurpa and John Avery, and Zola Jesus proves the perfect candidate to close out with her soaring vocal on ‘True Home’.