“The Depths of a Year” by Ehren Starks (No. 74)
Today’s album was discovered by rummaging through the Magnatune catalog. This one is The Depths of a Year by Ehren Starks.
Magnatune lists Depths in several categories: jazz, instrumental, neoclassical, piano, and cello. It’s the last one that grabbed me. I realized sometime in the early 2000’s that I really love the sound of cello. So I started seeking out classical and instrumental works that prominently feature cello.
Eventually, I caught wind of Magnatune – a record label with the motto “we’re not evil.” The company’s business model has changed over the years from individual CD sales to MP3 (and other format) downloads, to an “all you can eat” model. It was sometime after 2003 that I checked out Depths and loved it. It’s been in heavy rotation ever since.
The album features Starks on piano, and Kate Gurba on cello. Listening to the album, you might think that this is a pair of musicians well into their careers. In fact, Starks was 19 when the album was written. Both were students at Kansas University when the album was recorded.
Unfortunately, neither Starks nor Gurba seem to be playing music any longer. Starks released a second album on Magnatune in 2005 called Lines Build Walls. It’s also excellent, but Depths edges it out in my book.
You can stream either album for free on Magnatune’s site, and Magnatune subscribers can share the music under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 1.0 license. If you follow the YouTube link above, you can listen to the entire album. Or you can listen on Magnatune’s site, if you don’t mind a short notice after each song by Magnatune’s John Buckman.