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Is Kite's V an Album or an EP?

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The latest EP by Swedish synth group Kite is having us rethink the entire concept of the EP. We raised the question recently about whether EPs could be considered on best of the year album lists, in other words can an EP be an album, and what is an album anyway?

It's hard to disentangle the question in any straightforward way: are albums something that has to do with length, or are they instead related to their content? Is a best of collection truly an album? Can a one-song full-length be an album? Is the entire idea of the concept album really just a construction that separates really successful albums from your average album?

These kinds of questions are fun to delve into, especially when they're inspired by something as great as Kite's EP V. The EP is certainly more fulfilling than your average album. It's only five tracks, but they are tracks that are so incredible, that one only notices that you're not immersed in an album when it all ends too abruptly. But isn't that the experience of most great art?---you always want it to go on a bit longer, right?

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Albums used to be much shorter because before CDs and 90 minutes cassettes, you only had 40 or 50 minutes max of playing time, less on vinyl. And so double-LP releases were invented to house more music, but most of the great classics in any genre clock in at around 40 minutes anyway. Dark Side of the Moon is 42:59. The original Remission by Skinny Puppy is 24:09.

Kite V is shorter than both of these but might just be as fulfilling, and perhaps that's what we are looking for when we say "what a great album". "What a great EP" doesn't have as good of a ring to it. And, more than that, it doesn't seem to do the work justice. One thing's for sure. If this was the end of the year instead of the end of half the year, Kite V would likely be at the top of our 2013 album list.

 

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