Just a few weeks shy of his 35th birthday, Kasper Bjørke, a Danish ambient producer, discovered a tumor. The next five years of his life were spent in the clinical surrounds of hospitals and clinics. So he decided to document his feelings into his newest release, The Fifty Eleven Project. It’s deeply moving, fragile ambient soundscapes take you into his mind.
The first track on the album, “Line of Life (Prologue)” is rather epic at 12 minutes long. There’s a deep drone that peters out until there’s a glorious moment of piano notes that enter like sunshine through the clouds. Then, darkness and light battle it out in terms of drone and piano with the piano entering in a dramatic way. This is strongly emotional narrative music that seems to generate a lot of mindspace, across vast expanses of sea and land.
As with many enormously satisfying works of art, the real genius tends to come out of times of hardship and adversity. You can really sense that here in Kasper’s tracks which trace the emotional upheavals and physical and mental pain of going through cancer. The great news is that he got the all clear and is now in good health.
Kasper Bjørke normally makes must faster dance music, but this style of ambient music suits him. I feel as though I’m drifting through a low bank of clouds at dusk while listening to this.
As a fellow cancer survivor, perhaps this is the reason for my understanding this musical narrative here so intimately. It’s as though someone cracked open my brain like a watermelon and pulled out various memories. But I hope that others will love this as much as I do too.