Mohammed likes the bass, but I prefer the koto. What can I say? Perhaps that an album with at least two tonal entry points must be a very fine effort. It’s unlikely that Already Gone will become more popular than the songs of the same name by The Eagles and Kelly Clarkson, but in our world, it already is.
So let’s compare tracks for a moment, as Already Gone does have a title track to throw into the ring.
The Eagles: Well I’m already gone, and I’m feeling strong. I will sing this victory song, woo-hoo-woo!
Kelly Clarkson: Sounds suspiciously like Beyoncé’s “Halo”.
En: A slow build followed by tendrils of drone and a deliciously plucked koto. Tuuune! Okay, not really.
Well, maybe one of the first three songs on Already Gone could be the first single, they’re short enough. (We might have to trim a bit from “Marble Steppe” for radio purposes, but “The Sea Saw Swell” is just right.) Okay, there’s that bass Mohammed was talking about; hey, this is a good track! Watch your back, Adele! (Wouldn’t it be nice if popular songs had subtle twinkles and theremin- like tones like these? Or if they actually built up to something other than a longer, bigger chorus?)
Sadly, the last track will never be a single. Try selling a 19-minute piece to a radio station and see how far you get. I once asked a classic rock DJ to play Pink Floyd’s “Dogs”, but he told me it was too long – and it didn’t even take up the whole side of the record. Oh, sorry, did I mention that Already Gone is a record? That won’t do, will it?
I guess Side B is just for us, then. Go away, poseurs and pop fans, let us enjoy our breakfast. The birds sing sweetly in the trees. We can hear the soft breaths of the duo as they lay down a soft tablecloth of notes. Are we having pancakes? We are. Can’t you hear the children clamoring in the background? You’d better start eating – here they come. What a lovely koto! You’re going to play while we eat? How wonderful! In that case, I shall have some jam.
The notes sparkle like sun on silverware. No one is in a hurry, nor do they need to be. The mood is peaceful, soothing, eloquent. They can take all the time in the world. We won’t mind. We’re in a good place, with good friends, and the clouds look like teacups and spoons. (Richard Allen)