Earlier this year, Joseph K Evans released an album under the name of Runningonair. Although slighly out of time in its approach, it balanced the digital age with glimpses of human emotion. Surprisingly, Evans has been making music since the early 1980’s but this was actually his first long player. A fine time, then, to scour the back catalogue and here’s a compilation of his early electronic experiments.
The track ‘Running On Air’ itself maps the way forward for Evans. The melody is built from lush, clean synths and icy beats. It is music designed for large open spaces – like an airport or a design exhibition – yet it has an inner core of melancholy to counter any claims that this is merely background music. ‘In Heaven’ visualises cities full of towering office buildings whilst ‘In Search Of W’ conveys loneliness and commuter stress.
Faring less well are ‘Turn To Gold’ (complete with house piano) and the similarly dance-influenced ‘Peaceful’, which probably sounded dated when they first came out. Along the way there are clear moves into jazz territory (‘Rush Hour’ especially); itself no surprise given that Evans’ studied jazz and classical compositions in the early 1990’s.
Based on the nine tracks alone, there’s not quite enough to suggest Evans would be a musician to watch. Instead, the music firts between jazzy experimentalism, easy listening and techno but without consistently excelling at either. Since then Evans has clearly raised his game, as evidenced by ‘Out Of Process’, but these recordings tell the interesting story of how he got there.
Kraftwerk, 808 State