Rolling in like the autumn fog, Goldmund’s latest single “The One Who Stands By” is the perfect soundtrack to the exquisite gloom of the season.
Also known for his work as Helios and as one part of Mint Julep, Keith Kenniff’s recordings as Goldmund tread sincerely along paths laden with dusty timbres, diffuse synthesizer, and soaring string textures tinted by the muted glow of a cloudy analog sky above.
His output as Goldmund has established him alongside peers like Hauschka, Nils Frahm, and even his past collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto, who himself once described Kenniff’s work as “so, so, so beautiful”.
New album The Time it Takes is out now via Western Vinyl.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Pennsylvania native Keith Kenniff’s output as Goldmund has established him as one of the preeminent composers of minimal piano-based ambient music alongside peers like Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, and even Ryuichi Sakamoto, who himself once described Kenniff’s work as “so, so, so beautiful”.
His recordings tread sincerely along paths laden with dusty timbres, diffuse synthesizer, and soaring string textures tinted by the muted glow of a cloudy analog sky above. On The Time it Takes, his newest book of aural polaroids out October 16th via Western Vinyl, Kenniff somehow manages to deepen the emotionality of his already affecting project, creating a space in which to unfold the sorrows of a troubling age and revel in the hope and beauty that follow thereafter. In this sense, The Time it Takes tackles grief head-on, unadorned by themes of escapism or pastorality, and marks another entry in an impressively consistent body of work.
From the first murmurs of this track, The Time it Takes calls to mind the cascading nature of mourning. There’s the first tragedy, the loss itself, then the second one, the dissipation of the memory of the thing lost. We start out grieving for a loss directly; years later, sorrow reappears not only for that loss, but for the idea that its meaning is slipping away with each turn of the calendar page. An aged piano thumps gently just beyond an impassable moat of time, its operator’s presence is evidenced by the shuffling of pedals and the shifting of mechanisms, and seraphic choirs seep in from places unseen. It’s a miniature diagram of how the outer world transitions to the inner, and vice versa. “Memory Itself” follows suit with earthy textures that become slowly buried by celestial ones as the seconds pass. Kenniff’s kindling of piano is gradually set ablaze with synth, choir, and trilling strings provided by his equally emotive label-mate Christopher Tignor. The track is a crescendo that imparts an equal amount of dread and relief depending on the mood of the listener.
As if we needed convincing, Kenniff further proves his skill of crafting sound-design vignettes that are personal, private, and hushed, yet simultaneously grand, colossal, and profound. Nostalgia sometimes suffers the role of low hanging fruit for the marketing world, or worse, a symptom of the stunted development of a generation facing backward in a world that moves unrelentingly forward. But instead of engaging in reductive and culpable pastiche, Kenniff dispels any notions of nostalgia’s counter-productivity by using our collective memory as just another brush to paint with, thereby wresting his music from any linear cultural timeline.
To that end there are few artistic voices as distinct as Goldmund’s. Magically conjuring grandeur from only a few simple ingredients (piano, synthesizer, reverb, and a little more) Kenniff’s sound has become so universal that you’d be forgiven for not knowing who it belongs to. Knock offs be damned, every Goldmund recording is cut from an inimitable fabric woven out of emotional realism, honesty, vivid imagination, and skillful restraint.