Peter Kirn, the writer & synthesist behind the excellent Create Digital Music site, has released a new album, End Of The Train Device, that demonstrates that he doesn’t just talk the talk.
Here’s what Kirn has to say about his new album:
The End of Train Device (ETD) is the small metal box, equipped with a flashing light, now seen on the last car of a train where once there was a caboose.
I grew up with a love of railroads, the sound of freight trains echoing in the middle of the Kentucky nights. I watched the last gasps of the old-fashioned caboose as the ETD caught on in the 80s, alongside the personal computer.
The ETD represents both the loss of something romantic and the transformation into something new, a flashing box that marks the unimaginable flow behind our world.
They trace telemetry, the connective tissue of brake lines that binds a long freight train into a single organism, as they make their way along the tangible circuits of our civilization. They are, in a sense, cyborg conductor and brakeman, but also the mind of the machine. They chirp away on radio frequencies, sending a signal that communicates the status of the moving train.
Kirn describes his new album as ambient / leftfield electronic music. Phase-shifted piano and electric piano riffs feature prominently – a bit like Steve Reich by way of the Pat Metheny Group, with a side of glitch.
What I like best about Kirn’s release, though, is that the music’s intellectual side is subservient to the music’s emotional core. Clever ideas, like a synth patch that evokes a train whistle, are there to play a melody. And no matter how glitched things get, beats get to be beats.
You can preview Kirn’s End Of Train Device above. If you like what you hear – you can pay what you wish for the album at Bandcamp.