When you need to sound epic but maintain the meticulous details of your work, Randall Dunn has become the go-to producer and audio engineer for the likes of Sunn O))), Wolves in the Throne Room and Anna Von Hausswolff. In the studio, Dunn works in layers of rhythm, volume and performance to achieve the sublime. This translates to his own music as Master Musicians of Bukkake, as well as the new Beloved, a record released under his own name, with guests Timm Mason, Jeremiah Cymerman, Eyvind Kang and Algiers' Frank Fisher.
Zola Jesus sings the closing track, "A True Home." She's a forceful but sympathetic presence alongside Dunn's enveloping synths, serving as a guide between life and death as she sings a 17th-century poem by Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher Gesshu Soko:
Breathing in, breathing out
Moving forward, moving back
Like two arrows meeting in flight
In the midst of nothingness
Is the road that goes directly to my true home
Director Mu Tunç — who released Arada, a movie centered on the Turkish punk scene, back in April — takes "A True Home" to the Oman desert. Amid the miraculous sunsets and gold-flecked beaches, Turkish actress Melisa Şenolsun performs a surreal ritual for survival and self-realization.
"This video is based on recurring dream I had this past year of a woman walking through the desert in search of water," Randall Dunn tells NPR Music. "Longing reds and browns set against the deep sun. Through conversations, I conveyed this idea to the Turkish director Mu Tunç, who went deeply into the concept in a way beyond what I could have imagined. The song 'A True Home' is about the realization that the journey to find 'self' begins and ends at the same time, and that realization occurs when true presence is embraced."
Beloved is out now via Figureight.