Despite having spent around two decades moving within the concentric circles of experimental/heavy/outsider music, Beloved is Randall Dunn’s first foray into the world of the solo album. Having been involved in such a wide variety of esoteric, sonic art for so long, and collaborating with others both well-known and unknown, it is interesting to see what happens when Dunn is left to his own devices.
“Amphidromic Point” cascades slowly over the prone listener, lapping against their ribcage, gently caressing their eardrums, the very antithesis of heavy. It seems Mr. Dunn has taken to heart his collaboration with Icelandic composter Johann Johannsson, another master at doing more with less, resulting in an ideal introduction to those unfamiliar with the multitude of albums/artists his production has touched.
A definite weightiness is present within “Lava Rock And Amber,” conjuring sonic images of the high law of nature and her eventual triumph over the depravity of man, while “Something About That Night” pulses and throbs, Frank Fisher of Algiers invoking the work of Brendan Perry on Dead Can Dance’s underrated 1996 album Spiritchaser.
Cavernous yet ethereal, “Theoria / Aleph” blends drone and choral motifs creating a sound summoning the chasms within a hollow earth and of outer space’s vastness simultaneously and sublimely, as “Mexico City” hangs over the sable skyline of its namesake, persistent starshine in the silence.
After the crackling, hissing static of “Virgo,” “A True Home” brings Beloved to a close, warm and celestial, Zola Jesus reminiscent of Ofra Haza . In all, Beloved is nothing we’d have expected from Randall Dunn’s debut, but everything we hoped it would be.