It is interesting to see how the CD-format, which gives the artist up to 80 minutes to fill, still holds a firm grip on the music business – even in this age of streaming music. While an author can write a book from 150 pages up to 1.000 pages (or more), the music artist still usually finds the length of a single CD to be more than enough.
But for Ken Elkinson this was not the case. His release Music for Commuting fills 3 CDs, with 60 tracks in total! And it doesn’t stop there. A 20 track outtake CD will be released in early 2012. So needless to say; this is an artist with lots of melodies to share!
Each CD is divided into two, one part for each day. Disc 1 is a bit dark and reflective (that blue Monday feeling I guess), disc 2 is brighter, while the last one is futuristic and spacey (you got to love the weekends, right?). The first thing that you will notice when starting your voyage through Music for Commuting is just how rich this collection is; it is like a magic box filled with melodies and emotions. But the main thing here is sound design; all songs are between 3 and 4,50 minutes long, and give the impression of a carefully selected format – like a poet using the same number of lines in each poem. Indeed, Elkinson is a musical poet, giving each day of the week a description is sound and atmospheres.
We know from the past that Elkinson is an excellent pianist. But is he as good on the synth? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Most elements are, according to Elkinson, done live with only a little editing. But what I find impressive is the melodies itself, the 3-4 minute long pieces of colorful art.
It is hard to pick favorite songs here, there are so many nice to choose from. But my favorite songs are in the dark Monday-department, like the melancholic Enigma and the somewhat lighter Plateau.
A very successful record manager I know says the main question to ask in music is; who is this album for? Who is its audience? (It would be too easy to say the commuter, of course.) Well, for one you need to enjoy analogue sounding synths. And you must be in need of relaxation music (who isn’t?) Music for Commuting is like a big box of music that will sound fresh and new every time you listen to it. That is this actually this release’s biggest achievement; very few things today seems genuinely original. This is undoubtedly an original release, with enough music to last for a whole week.
With this in your ears the daily trip to work – and back again – will seem a lot more colorful.
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