Ken Elkinson may be out to flood the world with charming electronic music. After introducing himself to the e-music world with his six-disc Music for Commuting, he now returns with the two-disc Music for Telecommuting, and intimates in his press release that there might be two more double discs in the works! Elkinson’s work is marked by two things: a textural lightness paired with occasional washes of melancholy, and pop-song brevity. The main trope here would seem to be to take a fairly straightforward song structure, give it some soft focus at the edges by wrapping it in pillowy synths, then ease in dose of emotion. Many of the tracks ring with easy familiarity. “Windowless” mixes a twinkling sequencer run with billowing chords–which play a part in many of these pieces, something I’ll get to in a moment–for a somewhat nostalgic late-80s feel. The slow-moving “Conditions” reminds me of Jarre’s calmer passages, a very evocative piece with a sweet sadness underlying it. “Endless,” with its gentle electric piano melody and string-like chords, pings the memory of something I’ve heard, yet remains just enough itself to keep the other from intruding. But, again, it takes me toward the 80s.
Music for Telecommuting may prove a little too fluffy for some. It’s nicely constructed and a relaxing listen, but for me–and I quite like Elkinson–it’s better mixed in with other music rather than taken straight. The back end of the disc feels a little too dependent on the aformentioned blossoming chords. When they’re lined up one after another, it threatens to be repetitious. To some degree, their presence across the whole collection can wear just a little thin when you listen in one go. I enjoy a lot of what’s offered on Music for Telecommuting, but I take it in measured doses.
Available from Ken Elkinson’s web site.