EP Review | Elliot Cole & Journals, Vol. 1

Contemporary classical composer Elliot Cole released his EP, Journals, Vol. 1, through Long Echo Records in September. The NYC musician’s latest effort is a stunningly beautiful collection of accessible and inspiring pieces that were both composed and produced by Cole. Sporting cello and guitar duets, the release makes space for intimate conversations between the two instruments, which blend and harmonize around one another in delicate fashion.

Cole is an expert in multiple musical fields and a teacher of advanced composition and music production. He also produces electronic music and is a postdoctoral fellow in algorithmic composition at Princeton University.

“I usually make music to get outside myself, to explore, to roam.  To discover something I didn’t already have in me. But ‘Journals’ is a return to the personal—a pencil and a notebook, a private moment, drawing out what’s inside.”

Elliot Cole

Although Cole leads the way with direction and composition, he is joined by his collaborative performers: the guitar is Jordan Dodson, and the cello is Gabriel Cabezas.

The release covers 5 excellent pieces with their own distinctive personalities, and the highlights include the cathartic ‘November 25: Lovesick’. This track shines a light on the passionate work of Cabezas and his evocative cello. His performance shunts between splashes of intensity and a more subdued spilling over of deeply-stored emotions. Against the more brooding lines of the cello is Dodson’s brimming guitar, acting as a motif by contrast.

Another is ‘December 7: Utah’, a track that moors and sways gently, full of nostalgia, melancholia, and pensive thought. Lastly, there’s ‘December 14: Exit Row’ and its barreling march of guitar/cello in unison, pushing out with a fierceness that’s amplified by mild touches of dissonance.

Journals Vol. 1 is a succinct and expertly crafted release fit for a broad audience of music lovers, be they serious and analytical or a casual listener. If you’re in any way inclined towards contemporary classical, be sure to check it out.

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