Randall Dunn

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Randall Dunn
Randall Dunn.jpg
Background information
Origin Michigan, US
Genres Rock music, jazz, metal music
Occupation(s) Record producer, audio engineer, musician
Years active 1990s–present
Associated acts Sunn O))), Marissa Nadler, Earth (American band), Eyvind Kang, Stephen O'Malley, Wolves in the Throne Room, Six Organs of Admittance, Greg Anderson (guitarist), Oren Ambarchi

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 "emerging not only 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 tutelage 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 he produced the band Earth, who recorded their fourth album Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method with Dunn at Aleph Studios.[15]

In 2006, Dunn recorded and mixed the collaborative album between Sunn O))) and Boris, Altar.[1]

In 2009, Dunn produced the Sunn O))) album, Monoliths & Dimensions.[1]

Since 2011, Dunn has worked out of Avast studios.[7]

In 2014, Dunn worked with Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley on scoring the short film Kairos by the Belgian filmmaker Alexis Destoop.[4][16] It was released as Shade Themes from Kairos (Drag City, 2014).[17]

In 2015, Dunn produced the Sunn O))) album, Kannon.

In 2017, Dunn entered the studio with Myrkur, producing her second album Mareridt.[18]

In 2018 along with Jóhann Jóhannsson, Dunn co-produced the score to the film Mandy, directed by Panos Cosmatos.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21]


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, or use Pro Tools 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] Ryan Mahan of the band Algiers noted that, "If you asked me what Randall's other career would be, it would be as a psychologist. The man just understands people."[22]



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)


  1. ^ a b c "Randall Dunn – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  2. ^ "Oren Ambarchi / Stephen O'Malley / Randall Dunn: Shade Themes From Kairos Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-08-31.
  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 2016-04-08.
  4. ^ a b Cody, Brent (May 19, 2014). "Interview". bombmagazine.org. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  5. ^ Kostelnik, Alex (August 2016). "Randall Dunn: Supporting Superstitions". tapeop.com. Retrieved 2016-09-21.
  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 2017-07-28.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Stannard, Joseph (March 11, 2014). "Interview: Randall Dunn on Producing Marissa Nadler, Eyvind Kang and Master Musicians Of Bukkake". redbullmusicacademy.com. Retrieved 2015-07-20.
  8. ^ "Eyvind Kang – 7 NADEs". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  9. ^ "Critters Buggin – Bumpa". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  10. ^ "Rockin' Teenage Combo – Mr. Birdy's Fryday". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  11. ^ "Lesli Dalaba, Bill Horist, Randall Dunn – Zahir". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  12. ^ "Le blog du Webzine Musique(s): Dalaba, Horist, Dunn – Zahir". webzinemusique.blogspot.co.uk (in French). May 4, 2007. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  13. ^ "Eyvind Kang – Live Low to the Earth, In The Iron Age". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  14. ^ "Impaled – Death After Life". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  15. ^ "Earth (2) – Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  16. ^ "Ideologic – Stephen O'Malley – News". www.ideologic.org. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  17. ^ "Ambarchi* / O'Malley* / Dunn* – Shade Themes From Kairos". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  18. ^ "MYRKUR Enters The Studio With Randall Dunn To Record New Album".
  19. ^ "Jóhann Jóhannsson's Mandy Soundtrack, His Final Work, to Be Released | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
  20. ^ "Randall Dunn | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-02-05.
  21. ^ "Master Musicians of Bukkake – The Visible Sign of the Invisible Order". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  22. ^ "A Band Apart: The Fractured Fury Of Algiers". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  23. ^ "Steve Von Till Releasing A Life Unto Itself in May | Ghost Cult Magazine". Retrieved 2015-07-20.
  24. ^ "Headwaves, by Headwaves". Headwaves. Retrieved 2018-04-04.