Randall Dunn

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Randall Dunn
Dunn c. 2018
Dunn c. 2018
Background information
OriginMichigan, U.S.
GenresRock, jazz, heavy metal
Occupation(s)Record producer, audio engineer, musician
Years active1990s–present

Randall Dunn is an American record producer, audio engineer, and musician.

As a record producer, he has worked with musical acts such as Sunn O))), Six Organs of Admittance, Marissa Nadler, Wolves in the Throne Room, Boris, Anna Von Hausswolff, Akron/Family, Oren Ambarchi, Eyvind Kang, The Cave Singers, Earth, and Jesse Sykes, among others.[1] Pitchfork has described him as "a go-to producer for metal but also for indie acts looking to add more edge and atmosphere."[2]

Early life[edit]

Originally from Michigan, Dunn moved to Seattle in 1993 to explore his interest in film music.[3] He attended the Art Institute of Seattle to study sound design for film,[4] and formed connections with local musicians, including Skerik and Matt Chamberlain.[5] In an interview, Dunn stated, "I'm sort of a frustrated filmmaker that turned into a record producer. The people I met when I moved here spun me in a way that sent me down this path of treating sound the way I would have treated film."[6]

During his studies he received practical experience at Hanzsek Studios under the instruction of Jack Endino.[3] He gradually became involved in the recording and producing of sessions.[7]


Record producer[edit]

As a fan of the band Naked City, Dunn contacted keyboardist Wayne Horvitz in Seattle who introduced him to Eyvind Kang.[7] Dunn received his first credit for a session with Eyvind Kang, resulting in the piece "5th NADE/Invisible Man" on the 7 NADEs album released in 1996.[8] His involvement resulted in a long-term friendship with Kang, through whom he met a number of musicians, mostly in the jazz-rock genre.[7] Dunn was later introduced to the engineer Mell Dettmer and together they founded Aleph Studios.[3]

In 1998 he engineered the live portion of the album Bumpa by Critters Buggin,[9] while he received a writing credit for his involvement with Mr. Birdy's Fryday by the Rockin' Teenage Combo.[10] In 2001 he worked together with trumpet player Lesli Dalaba and guitarist Bill Horist, releasing the ambient album Zahir.[11][12] He engineered Kang's 2002 album Live Low to the Earth, in the Iron Age.[13]

In 2005, he was credited as an engineer on the Impaled album Death After Life released through Century Media.[14] In the same year, Dunn met Dylan Carlson of the band Earth in Seattle and recorded their fourth album, Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method at Aleph Studios.[15]

After hearing his work with Asva, Stephen O'Malley contacted Dunn to produce the collaborative album between Sunn O))) and Boris, Altar.[1] This began a long relationship with the band doing live sound and producing several of their albums including Monoliths & Dimensions and Kannon.[16]

Dunn recorded several songs with Sun City Girls for the soundtrack to the Harmony Korine film Mister Lonely.[16]

In 2014, Dunn worked with Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley on scoring the short film Kairos by the Belgian filmmaker Alexis Destoop.[4][17] It was released as Shade Themes from Kairos on Drag City in 2014.[18]

In 2017, Dunn entered the studio with Myrkur, producing her second album Mareridt.[19]

In 2018, Dunn produced Anna Von Hausswolff's fourth studio album, Dead Magic. The album was critically well received with reviews highlighting Dunn's attention to capturing her vocal performance.[20][21] Later that year, Dunn produced Cloud Nothings' fifth studio album, Last Building Burning.

The Association of Danish Music Critics nominated Randall Dunn for Producer of the Year in 2018 for his work with Sort Sol, Myrkur, and Childrenn.[22]

Dunn co-produced the score to the Panos Cosmatos film Mandy, along with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson in 2018.[23]

On November 9, 2018, Dunn released his first solo studio album titled Beloved. It featured guest vocals from Frank Fisher of Algiers and Zola Jesus.[24]

Master Musicians of Bukkake[edit]

In addition to his work as a producer and engineer, Dunn is a keyboardist and founding member of the experimental group, Master Musicians of Bukkake.[25] Dunn described the project as "a way to escape how I make music in the studio when I’m doing records for people".[7]

In 2004, alongside his bandmates, Dunn wrote, arranged and produced the first Master Musicians of Bukkake record, The Visible Sign of the Invisible Order. The album was released on Sun City Girls' label, Abduction Records and featured the musicians Eryn Young (vocals), James Davis, Don McGreevy, Alan Bishop, Charlie Gocher, and John Schuller.[26]


When being offered to produce someone, Dunn prefers "people to send the roughest demos possible rather than more elaborate ones. And I try to see if it's music that I – or my aesthetics – can work with. Like, with their vision, and the end goal".[7] He also pointed out that "people themselves are a really big thing for me. I just try to find people that you can spend ten days with in a small room, still enjoy each other's music and company, and be collaborative".[7] As a musician, Dunn described himself "as an arranger in the studio. (...) You have to think several steps ahead as a musician – tuning, performance, rhythm – you have to think about all these layers of how sounds work".[7]

On several occasions, Dunn has expressed a preference for the use of analog recording equipment: "I'm not a huge fan of the predictability of digitally processed music. But when you combine it with analog, you can get a cool medium. I rarely mix in the box [i.e., entirely digitally] , or use Pro Tools [a common computerized editing software] to do mixes. Everything is hands-on with faders. I'll start with tape—if it's a rock band, recording to 16-track two-inch tape. It's a beautiful sound you don't hear much of any more. I like the hybrid approach with the soul of tape and the precision of digital."[6]

Dunn credits his open approach in the studio as being influenced by his studies of Buddhism and psychology.[7]


Solo studio albums

  • Beloved (Figureight, 2018)

Collaborative albums

  • Lesli Dalaba/Bill Horist/Randall Dunn, Zahir (Endless Records, 2001)
  • Oren Ambarchi/Stephen O'Malley/Randall Dunn, Shade Themes From Kairos (Drag City, 2014)

As Master Musicians of Bukkake

  • The Visible Sign of the Invisible Order (Abduction, 2004)
  • Totem One (Conspiracy Records, 2009)
  • Totem Two (Important Records, 2010)
  • Totem Three (Important Records, 2011)
  • Far West (Important Records, 2013)
  • Far West Quad Cult (Important Records, 2015)

Production credits[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Randall Dunn – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  2. ^ "Oren Ambarchi / Stephen O'Malley / Randall Dunn: Shade Themes From Kairos Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Barr, Brian J. (July 17, 2007). "There's More to Randall Dunn's Resume Than Beards, Cloaks, and Fog Machines". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Cody, Brent (May 19, 2014). "Interview". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  5. ^ Kostelnik, Alex (August 2016). "Randall Dunn: Supporting Superstitions". tapeop.com. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Moorman, Trent. "The Master Musicians of Bukkake Man Talks Gateways, Mating, Electromagnetics, and the Cistern in Istanbul Where Sound Restores". The Stranger. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Stannard, Joseph (March 11, 2014). "Interview: Randall Dunn on Producing Marissa Nadler, Eyvind Kang and Master Musicians Of Bukkake". redbullmusicacademy.com. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "Eyvind Kang – 7 NADEs". Discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  9. ^ "Critters Buggin – Bumpa". Discogs. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  10. ^ "Rockin' Teenage Combo – Mr. Birdy's Fryday". Discogs. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  11. ^ "Lesli Dalaba, Bill Horist, Randall Dunn – Zahir". Discogs. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  12. ^ "Le blog du Webzine Musique(s): Dalaba, Horist, Dunn – Zahir". webzinemusique.blogspot.co.uk (in French). May 4, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  13. ^ "Eyvind Kang – Live Low to the Earth, In The Iron Age". Discogs. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  14. ^ "Impaled – Death After Life". Discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  15. ^ "Earth (2) – Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method". Discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Randal Dunn by Brent Cody - BOMB Magazine". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  17. ^ "Ideologic – Stephen O'Malley – News". www.ideologic.org. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  18. ^ "Ambarchi* / O'Malley* / Dunn* – Shade Themes From Kairos". Discogs. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  19. ^ "MYRKUR Enters The Studio With Randall Dunn To Record New Album".
  20. ^ "Album Of The Week: Anna Von Hausswolff's 'Dead Magic'". Vinyl Me Please. March 5, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  21. ^ Prog, Natasha Scharf 2018-02-28T17:30:00 580Z (February 28, 2018). "Anna von Hausswolff - Dead Magic album review". Prog Magazine. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  22. ^ "Her er de nominerede til Steppeulven 2018". gaffa.dk (in Danish). Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  23. ^ "Jóhann Jóhannsson's Mandy Soundtrack, His Final Work, to Be Released | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. July 12, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  24. ^ "Beloved, by Randall Dunn". Randall Dunn. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  25. ^ "Randall Dunn | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  26. ^ "Master Musicians of Bukkake – The Visible Sign of the Invisible Order". Discogs. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  27. ^ "Steve Von Till Releasing A Life Unto Itself in May | Ghost Cult Magazine". March 12, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  28. ^ "Headwaves, by Headwaves". Headwaves. Retrieved April 4, 2018.