Ken Elkinson | Music for Commuting, Vols. 1-6

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Music for Commuting, Vols. 1-6

by Ken Elkinson

Full 6 CD (3 double CD) box set of ambient music from Los Angeles based multi-instrumentalist Ken Elkinson
Genre: Electronic: Ambient
Release Date: 

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1. Unfolding
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2. Move Over, Sunrise
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3. Renewal
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4. Eventual Morning
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5. Miles
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3:33 $0.99
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6. Submerge
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7. Glass House
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8. Incandescence
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3:37 $0.99
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9. The Window West
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3:23 $0.99
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10. Soleri
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3:43 $0.99
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11. Far Rockaway (Gulls)
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3:50 $0.99
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12. Radiate
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3:42 $0.99
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13. Something More
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3:06 $0.99
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14. Silver Maple
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15. Violins / Escape
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3:24 $0.99
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16. Infinity
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17. Enigma
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18. Well Lit
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19. Riverside Park
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20. Plateau
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21. Stephanie Seymour
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4:03 $0.99
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22. Serena
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4:35 $0.99
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23. Getting Over, Or Trying
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3:37 $0.99
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24. (The) Tapestry
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3:39 $0.99
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25. Almost
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4:13 $0.99
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26. Snow Day
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3:56 $0.99
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27. The Thin Veil
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28. Ascend
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3:51 $0.99
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29. Blue Monorail
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30. Life Support
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31. Abundance
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3:08 $0.99
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32. Daughters
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33. John Hughes
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3:17 $0.99
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34. Ireland (Imagined)
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35. Solitude
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36. Chasing Twilight
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4:16 $0.99
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37. Kyoto (Actual)
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38. The Unforgiving Fog
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39. Teasing Trees
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40. KT-22
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41. Changes From The Sea
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42. Locusts
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43. Spheres
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44. Paper Kaleidoscope
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45. Spiraling
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46. Solenko
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47. Goodbye, Richard
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48. Past Life
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49. Diffraction
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50. Lancer
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51. Dirty Breeze
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52. Squint
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53. 4 A.M. (Bright Lights)
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54. Ambivalence
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55. Iron Lung
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56. The Man With The Orange Shoes
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57. Fluorescence
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58. Flash Forward
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59. Typewriter, Dentist
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60. Mission Accomplished?
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Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Music For Commuting – Frequently (and Infrequently) Asked Questions

Is the music solely for commuting?
Absolutely not. When I came up with the title, I meant it more as music for commuting through life. I know, it sounds lame. I can assure you it is the deepest thought I had all year.

How long did it take to record so many songs?
The entire recording process took about six months.

How were the songs composed?
I usually started with a cool sound from one of the synths and took it from there. Sometimes I would come up with an idea, write some chords down and go with it. Many other times I improvised on the fly. Once the initial track was completed, I would go back and layer different sounds on top. While it is not Radiohead cool – there is a lot of stuff going on in the background of most tracks. While most of my original piano work involves painstaking advanced composition, this was a total change in direction.

Is the title an hommage to Brian Eno’s Music For Airports?
I would be lying if I said no. Briano Eno is the Godfather of ambient music. However, I really did not listen to Music For Airports until after I finished recording this project. The music is more inspired by Pink Floyd and a lot of 80’s pop music I grew up with.

What is the deal with some of the song titles – like “Stephanie Seymour” and “John Hughes?”
I am terrible at naming songs, so I farmed out the majority of the song titles to my friends and family. A friend came up with “Stephanie Seymour” which inspired me to come up with “John Hughes.” The latter track reminded me of background in all his movies, and it was a great loss when he passed away.

Describe how each of the 6 albums are different?
Monday is dark and droning. Tuesday is also a little on the dark side, but brightens up at some points. Wednesday is filled with what I refer to as upbeat anthems. Thursday has the lion share of what I call 1980’s synth music. Friday starts to get surreal and futuristic. Beyond is straight out of the 2050’s – totally spacey.

Were any samples used?
I used one sample of some seagulls very faintly in the track “Far Rockaway.” Don’t worry I got full permission.

How many songs were composed overall?
When I started this process I numbered each song or scratch idea. I ended up with a total of 168 individual ideas, probably about 90 full tracks. Music For Commuting contains 60 tracks, there will be a 20 song outtake CD released in 2012.

How many different synthesizers were used?
I used a Nord Lead 2 and then later a Nord Lead 2X as my main keyboard synth. I then used about 5 or 6 different other synths, some more than other. I would say I probably used the Nord and the Access Virus TI snow the most. While I own a real Rhodes and Wurlitzer, I do not have the skills to mic them properly, so I ended up using the Nord’s electric piano sounds, which are actually quite good. I also did very little tweaking of synth patches, as I did not have the time – meaning most of the sounds are factory presets that came with the synths. I also had someone create a few patches for me.

Was everything recorded live, or was splicing/looping used?
There was very little splicing or looping done with this project. I can think of two tracks I did some looping on, and I think those two are both slated for the outtake CD. I did no punching in, no MIDI tricks and very little editing. I really don’t have the Logic/Pro Tools editing skills, nor is that my style.

What’s next for Ken Elkinson?
I have three projects I am working on. The first is a lullaby solo piano CD. The next is an original piano solo CD. The last is a vocal acoustic rock/folk CD, but I plan to take 2 years of voice lessons before doing that. I will probably return to more ambient music down the road, as I really enjoyed this project.



Reviews


to write a review

John P. Olsen / Review Publicist

NewAgeMusicWorld.com Press Review
Ken Elkinson is a composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles, California. As a young adult, he was part of the competitive Classical piano circuit, who later studied Jazz and Pop piano, picking up guitar, bass, saxophone, clarinet and French horn along the way. In college, Ken took classes in music composition, percussion, recording studio techniques and improvisation to enhance his music education. It was during this time he began work on his first original Solo Piano CD, Midnight Conversation, which was released in 1997. After 9 solo piano albums, Ken Elkinson decided to begin composing ambient music, and the result is a new 6 CD box set entitled Music For Commuting. Featuring 60 tracks and over 4 hours of music, Music For Commuting has 3 double length CDs which represent progressive days of the week. The music was composed specifically to help calm drivers while commuting, but his calming music is well suited for massage, yoga, meditation, and academic studies. On this 6 CD collector’s edition, Disc 1 Monday-Tuesday begins the work week in a deep and droning manner, as if shuttling the commuter through the hardest days of the week. Disc 2 Wednesday-Thursday is much brighter while featuring upbeat, anthems and 1980’s synth-pop elements. Disc 3 is made for Friday and the weekend, taking the commuter into an enjoyable relaxing mode by spacey and futuristic music filled with a perfect sense of optimism. Songs can be purchased by individual mp3 downloads. Music For Commuting is an all instrumental mix of Ambient, Chill Electronica and New Age music, but most are from an ambient perspective with lighter melodies. All 60 songs blend beautifully into one another, and Ken performed every note you hear, so there was no instrumental programming involved during production. Ken Elkinson instead used a combination of 8 keyboards and synthesizers on this value packed collector’s edition CD which enables the listener to arrive at their destination in a calm and relaxed attitude.

Raj Manoharan (www.rajmanreviews.blogspot.com)

The RajMan Review
For years I have been searching for a perfect New Age album (besides Andy Summers’ 1988 guitar-and-synthesizer classic Mysterious Barricades), and I believe I have finally found one in the form of Ken Elkinson’s new release, Music for Commuting.

Music for Commuting is really a series of 6 CDs, most beautifully packaged as a compact and easily portable box set of 3 CDs with two albums each. To paraphrase Elkinson’s description of each two-album set, Disc 1: Monday/Tuesday is dark and edgy, Disc 2: Wednesday/Thursday is more buoyant and based on Elkinson’s love of 1980s synth pop, and Disc 3: Friday/Beyond is spacey and futuristic.

Regardless of these distinctions, the music on all six albums or three discs is really of one accord. Although there are latent guitar and percussion sounds on some tracks, the music is generated entirely with keyboards and synthesizers and sounds exactly like keyboards and synthesizers, and like Mysterious Barricades, the emphasis is on texture and sound, laced with beautiful melodies, tantalizing chord progressions, and ethereal chord washes.

Even with such a single style and sound, each of the 60 tracks in the box set is original and unique, setting it apart from most other instrumental albums that need to mix up styles and genres to maintain interest. This is quite an impressive feat on Elkinson’s part and speaks to his masterful compositional skills.

The music itself functions on several levels. As the title suggests, it’s perfect for commuting. It’s also ideal for meditation and relaxation. It’s intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually satisfying. It’s akin to a religious experience. It would be a great soundtrack for a science fiction or fantasy movie.

Listening to Music for Commuting is like swimming in an ocean of bliss. Its cascading layers of soothing sounds have the effect of mental therapy, like acupuncture for the mind. It is the epitome of pure New Age music and as a result is one of the best in the genre.