As a child, Ken grew up to the sounds of Bert Kaempfert, James Last and The Carpenters. When he was 7 he started playing the recorder and when he was 8 he started piano lessons. As a teenager Ken was listening to Brian Eno, The The and David Sylvian whilst mucking around with synthesizers and strange 80s bands. By the time he was 20 he had quit teacher training college and was working as an IT programmer and using his income to fund his expensive music technology habit.
During most of his 20s Ken played in bands, some serious, some less so, whilst following opportunities as they came up to earn a crust. In 1996 Ken moved to Bristol and hooked up with local musicians Adam Smith, Paul Ramos and Vicky Burley. Two bands emerged that were trip-hoppy and jazzy and cool, but they caught only the faintest of interest from ‘the business’. Ken immersed himself in a new found love of jazz legends Charles Mingus, Kenny Burrell and Lee Morgan, then bought a computer and decided to see what he could do himself.
In 2003 he contributed a track to a compilation of Art of Noise covers. An album followed in 2004 entitled ‘Salary Man’, released under the name ‘Avon’ and featured some of his previous collaborators. The moniker ‘Avon’ was in reference to the anti-hero of cult 80s BBC sci-fi show Blake’s 7 which was being repeated on UK Gold at the time. Ken currently prefers Space 1999 for vintage sci-fi kicks. Salary Man attracted wide-spread critical acclaim, but was not a ‘break through’ album commercially. Salary Man did, however, bring Ken’s talents to the attention of DJ Nick Luscombe who brought Ken in for a live performance on his show ‘Flomotion’ on XFM. Listening to the show was radio producer, DJ and promoter Ben Eshmade, who was producing chill out show ‘The Chiller Cabinet’ on Classic FM at the time and got Ken in to write a new set of jingles and idents.
A short, 5 track EP followed in 2005 entitled ‘The Cut’, which included the track ‘Prelude’ – used for a major cinema and TV advertising campaign for Axe/Lynx in the USA. In 2006, Ken released his next CD, Marginal – this time under his own name. Tracks from Marginal have been played on chill-out shows all over the USA, in Canada, Russia, Japan, Switzerland, Denmark and the UK. In particular, Marginal has been a firm favourite on UK digital station Chill. Ken’s music has also been popular on student radio in Canada and the chill-out internet station Calmscape in Denmark who nominated Ken ‘most promising artist of 2006’.
Ken rarely plays live but when he does you can find him in his local haunt of the Tobacco Factory in Bristol and performing as part of the ‘Arctic Circle’ in London – a community of contemporary musicians, DJs and VJs. In addition to The Cloud of Reason, 2007 marks the beginnings of two new artistic collaborations. Ken is currently writing a set of tracks with Swedish multi-instrumentalist folk musician David Stiernholm and co-writing pop songs with Bath-based singer/songwriter Ollie Smith. Ken Peel is married, is a dad and lives in Bristol, England.