Ken Elkinson, Music for Commuting, Vol. 1-6
Guess where this guy's based? Heh heh, if you guessed Los Angeles, City of Angels amid a metallic sea of auto-covered pavement, you'd be right. Multi-instrumentalist Ken Elkinson has created a compositional series, Music for Commuting, here compiled as Vols. 1-6. At first glance, you might take the title literally—other New Age artists have released material with the sole intent of traffic-frustration-ease, like Steven Halpern's Drive Time Rx. But unlike Halpern's upbeat, borderline smooth-jazz offering, Elkinson's is a patient, expansive sound that can almost be seen as an embrace of surrounding environments, or simply a accompaniment to life's journey as a whole. Comparisons have been made to Brian Eno's Music for Airports, though Elkinson has stated his influences come more from '80s synth-pop and Pink Floyd. Overall, Music for Commuting, Vol. 1-6 is an enjoyable synth-tastic ride full of effervescent, spacey, and exploratory etherea. And with tracks like "The Man with the Orange Shoes," "The Unforgiving Fog," and closer "Mission Accomplished?," Elkinson's nostalgic, slightly tongue-in-cheek, but austerely sincere musical personality brims with a persistent likeability.