This independent release by musician Matt Kimball titled ‘Journey’ is a 4-track EP comprised of some of Kimball’s early piano compositions. Played entirely on the piano, the EP consists of 4-tracks all describing the various stages of a journey. The story is told entirely though instrumentals, with no vocals or lyrics coming in to help move the story along. It is an EP that requires the listener to understand the story through the emotions being exuded through the music itself. The only clues as to what is happening in the story is given in the song titles, which act more like chapter headings, and don’t really give anything that much away.
There’s a beautiful and delicate craft to the composition in this EP. Musically, it is incredibly sparse but it is rich and deep with emotion. Every note played seems to be timed meticulously in order to give the listener a specific reaction. It is incredibly beautiful, and incredibly sad at the same time. Musically, it is akin to something that might be found on an independent films’s soundtrack. It seems the main focus of the music on this EP isn’t the notes being played, or even how it sounds (although it is important, as it does sound wonderful), but mainly how the music makes the listener feel. It is a journey of emotion, with the emotion being specific to each individual listener.
Whilst the album is incredibly enjoyable in a melancholy way, it is let down by what could be an element of plagiarism. The album’s second track titled ‘Part.II: Flight’, seems note-for-note to be a version of ‘Untitled#3’ by Sigur Rós from their album ‘()’. It is disappointing, as those who are familiar with the original track might find that when it comes to that part of the EP, it takes the listener out of the story and aware of the song’s original origins. It’s a shame, as it is unknown whether we can give Matt Kimball the benefit of the doubt, and simply pass off the song as a mistake rather than plagiarism. However, we simply don’t know at this point.
Overall though, ‘Journey’ is simply a beautiful EP. Although short in length, there is enough there to show that Kimball has a good understanding of music composition. ‘Journey’ features a well crafted story, told solely through the use of instrumental music. It is incredibly melancholy in tone, but I only see that as a strength, as it simply means it is music that makes you feel emotion. It is a shame that Kimball is stuck in the independent scene that he is, as it would be lovely to hear him compose more music, and perhaps broaden his style a bit and create a full length album. Whether this will happen is anybody’s guess, but I for one would be eager to hear it.
- ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Part.I: Prelude
- Part.III: Searching
Matt Kimball’s EP ‘Journey’ is unavailable for download, but can be streamed at his bandcamp page: http://mattyj.bandcamp.com/album/journey