James Elkington :: Me Neither

Library music — also known as stock or production music — can be used license-free in film, television, or theater without having to pay for an originally-composed score. Catalogs of library music usually range in styles, giving creators in the visual arts options to support the intended mood of a piece. 

Me Neither, the new album by James Elkington, has the appearance of library music as it is made up of a series of 29 brief instrumental pieces, the shortest of which is 36 seconds long. Elkington is known for his solo work, being a member of Brokeback, and supporting artists such as Jeff Tweedy and Richard Thompson. The new album is a departure from Elkington’s previous singer-songwriter material as most of the tracks feature a theme played on the acoustic guitar, while others are ambient soundscapes with found sounds such as sirens and avian chirping.

Elkington writes in the album’s press materials that didn’t set out to make library music for Me Neither: “I’d improvise and record the first thing that came into my head, quickly record something else on top of that, try to add some random elements, edit it and mix it, then stop before it had the chance to get stale.”

Elkington’s embrace of a first-thought-best-thought approach while still maintaining an editorial eye reveals the true nature of the project. Me Neither should be viewed as a series of musical miniatures that maintain the arc of a traditional album. It’s a captivating listen as the torrent of Elkington’s pure musical expression is astounding. Whether Me Neither will have the functionality of traditional library music remains to be seen, but the volume of so many little musical constructions calls for close listening so as not to miss the next moment of beauty. | s bunn

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