It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Lorna Dune in a solo capacity. While releasing two singles during the lockdown period, preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, Dune was immersed in the world of collaboration, joining the Philip Glass Ensemble for a premiere production for Shakespeare in the Park. The Milwaukee-based producer has also worked with Steve Reich, Tristan Perich, Meredith Monk among other deep listening touchstones, which are notable influences through Dune’s work.
The wait for Dune’s latest opus, Anattā, has been worth it. The avant-garde producer is a clear perfectionist. No stone left unturned while quality control isn’t just a buzz term bandied about for the sake of it. No, Dune is the kind of artist who really hones in on their craft with the end product taking as long as it needs to.
It’s a refreshing approach, exemplifying an artist fully consumed in their own world with little care for what’s going on outside of it.
On Anattā, Dune explores the terrains of sound design but what she actually does is make it palatable. From a sound world that has boasted a plethora of artists over the last two years, there’s been a lot of conceptual meanderings that really just haven’t hit the mark. Rich kids playing with shiny expensive toys, if you want to get truly cynical. However Dune shouldn’t be tossed into this wretched swampland; instead, she creates something futuristic and mind-altering, cross-pollinating pop music with experimentation.
With opening cut, Landing, and later with Lumos, Dune brings to life a beautiful Laurel Canyon-inspired psychedelia that buckles the ceilings that lead to the world of pop.
Field recordings feature significantly throughout Anattā, with Dune exploring through Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge and Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest. I Have Become is the greatest benefactor from these explorations; an earthy composition with eerie echoes from Dune’s field recordings that are truly inspired by nature. Dune’s ghostly whispers pull the song through into a fantastical landscape that feels beyond music.
Which is where Opening arrives. With instant bleeps and warm drones, Dune creates a panoramic view of her own sound world; an otherworldly one at that.
As shorter cuts, Radio Depth and Bio-electric Beings, infuse warped pop with sound design, Over the Great Divide (1) is a blistering Reich-inspired sci-fi drone composition that blows up every orbit in its wake. And reaching the world in which Dune has created, this hypnotic shower of sound underpins Anattā. So good, in many ways the rest of Anattā pales in comparison. No bad thing when the summit is reached.
From Over the Great Divide (1) the intensity recedes as the aptly titled Departure = Arrival closes Anattā. With a contemplative glance, it’s almost like looking up and shielding your face from the burning sun; or in this case, from the mysterious flying objects which Dune is most certainly influenced by.
With cosmology and polyrhythms rife throughout Anattā, Dune carves out the kind of blissful sounds that many will become hooked on. Closer to home, and the likes of Jane Weaver and Stealing Sheep aficionadas may have just found a new ally in Lorna Dune. Music for the loner to escape into their own orbit. An orbit that can be whatever they want it to be.
Anattā is out tomorrow via Medicine for a Nightmare. Purchase from Bandcamp.