Jan 13, 2013

Sundaze 1302

Hello,  we'll continue the new Sundaze year with Keith Kenniff an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, and electronic music producer. He's been very prolific this last decade and i thought it was time to share some here, last week Helios, this week Goldmund.

Post-classical piano music ...  N'Joy

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which compositions belong to Goldmund and which to Helios?
 It’s a pretty clear line for me; the Goldmund material is basically just solo piano, and even though I use some piano in Helios, there it’s more centered around traditional song structure and electronics/guitars and beats. The Goldmund material is written and recorded very quickly, and there is a lot of improvisation involved; but the Helios material is really detail orientated, and usually is pretty measured, compositionally.

Keith Kenniff is an American composer, multi-instrumentalist, and electronic music producer. He composes ambient/electronic music under the moniker Helios and post-classical piano music under Goldmund (the latter’s music once described by Ryuichi Sakamoto as “...so, so, so beautiful...”). At a young age, Keith Kenniff started playing drums, guitar and bass. His musical journey took him to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with honors in 2006 with a B.A. in percussion and composition.

Keith also records and performs music for solo piano under the name Goldmund for which he has six releases on Unseen Music, Type Records and Western Vinyl. In 2005 Corduroy Road Keith's first album under the moniker Goldmund, was released followed by the mini album ‘Two Point Discrimination’ in 2007. His 2nd full album ‘The Malady of Elegance' was released in 2008. In 2010 'Famous Places' saw the light followed by Goldmunds's 4th and currently last album 'All Will Prosper' in 2011. Keith has toured and performed extensively throughout the US, Europe Japan and Canada.

Keith has an indie rock/shoegaze band with his wife called Mint Julep. In January, 2011 they released an EP called "Adorn". The band will release their first full-length album, "Save Your Season" in 2011. The Kenniff's also have a children's music project, Meadows, (inspired by the couple's young son), whose debut longplayer, "The Littlest Star" was released in the summer of 2011.

Keith Kenniff's music has been featured on programs for NPR, the BBC, and can be heard in a number of documentaries and films, including celebrated indie filmmaker Harmony Korine's film 'Mister Lonely', a trailer for the 2009 film "Revolutionary Road" by Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes and his track 'The Chosen' has been used on America's Next Top Model. Keith has also composed music for web advertising by clients such as Facebook, Honda, MTV, Canon, T Mobile, American Express, Audi, Levi's, AEG, Vinamilk, and Christie's.

In 2011, Kenniff's "Orchestral – Goldengrove v2" was the featured soundtrack for several Apple commercials promoting its iPhone 4S.

"I try and issue a lot of restraint in the material I write, but music is a way (sometimes the only way) for me to reflect on, or release, my emotions fully. I think invariably when I write music or perform there's this wellspring of feeling that I might otherwise suppress that desperately wants to come out."

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Kenniff lives and breathes music, something that is very obvious when hearing tracks under any of his pseudonyms. As Goldmund, Kenniff has disregarded the electronic elements of his music almost entirely in favour of just a piano, a microphone and occasionally a guitar. ‘Corduroy Road’ is thirteen tracks of pure recording, the sound of the piano being opened and the feet on the pedals, the sound of fingers pressing lovingly onto the keys. This is a record of rare and unusual beauty, so shocking and yet unpretentious in its simplicity. When the guitar does emerge from beside the delicately touched piano, it serves as a balancing point for the record. Weaving in and out of the melodies, it adds another layer to what is already incredibly moving music.

‘Corduroy Road’ is rooted in Kenniff’s love of folk music from the American Civil War. We can hear this directly from his rendition of Civil War era classic ‘Marching Through Georgia’, but the influence carries throughout the record. There is an unheard voice which propels each track through history, maybe the ghosts of dying soldiers whispering in a long forgotten bar. Every haunting note drifts deep into the psyche and is lost in the ether of nostalgia. In this way it is a concept recording of sorts, it certainly has a narrative and has to be listened to in sequence. The story has clear themes; loss, history, friendship, camaraderie, forgiveness and hope, all clearly marked out by musical segments. It is no surprise that Kenniff’s passion for cinema shines through so strongly.

It would be hard to draw comparisons to music so rooted in folk traditions, but the music evokes traces of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Mark Hollis, Keith Jarret or even Eno’s more piano based compositions. Yet influence seems unimportant when listening to this deeply personal work. Just let it sink in and drift into the psyche.

Goldmund - Corduroy Road (flac  138mb)

01 Ba 1:33
02 Door Of Our Home 3:27
03 Marching Through Georgia 1:11
04 Downward To Darkness On Extended Wings 2:13
05 My Neighborhood 4:47
06 The One Acre 2:07
07 25 Thousand Miles 4:14
08 Methusela Tree 4:48
09 Larrows Of The Field 3:01
10 Provenance 2:56
11 Parhelia 6:05
12 Yamase 3:54
13 Anomolie Loop (1960-1969) 7:09

Goldmund - Corduroy Road (ogg  96mb)

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Sometimes, music doesn’t need to be interesting, genre-defining, or even that good to be moving. And in all honesty, Goldmund’s Two Point Discrimination doesn’t really do all that much. This is an EP stripped of all complexities, which doesn’t mean to say it’s boring. No, Goldmund is doing something rather subdued with his music. Consisting primarily of simplistic stabbing piano notes, uncluttered harp plucking, and seemingly sporadic chord strikes, Goldmund is working on a much more spectral level and achieving.

From the moment ‘Leading’ opens this record, to the second the final note is plucked on ‘One’, you get the sense as a listener that this album was assembled purely to accompany a film, a really beautiful and epic bohemian drama, as every song lends its symphonic resonance to illustrious and rich imagery. Again, nothing very interesting is happening, but it’s this nothingness that’s so engaging, allowing listeners to fill in the gaps which Goldmund so strategically places on Two Point Discrimination with whatever they wish.

This music is a confusing but beautiful mess of sound. Goldmund almost seems to be playing whatever the hell he likes, allowing discordance to slowly blend with melody. Not only does Goldmund really understand how to weave and construct simplistic-yet-catchy melodies, but he also excels in delivering songs that never outdo themselves in length – as do so many similar artists of his vein. All of his songs seem like perfectly packaged vignettes constructed with care and devotion.

'Leading Them From Light To Shadow They Will See As One'  Hmm, i suppose Keith considered that to be too pretentious a title for this mini album. Still it is...

Goldmund - Two Point Discrimination (flac  095mb)

01 Leading 1:59
02 Them 1:55
03 From 1:34
04 Light 3:01
05 To 3:10
06 Shadow 2:11
07 They 1:58
08 Will 2:51
09 See 1:45
10 As 2:28
11 One. 1:27

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‘The Malady of Elegance’ is the second poetic full-length from Boston-based composer Keith Kenniff, better known to some as Helios. Taking cues from ‘Corduroy Road’ Keith again restricts himself to the piano in conjuring up his humble soundscapes and again we are pulled into a deep, meditative and filmic world as the notes glide to a slow, pensive meter. Keith’s last release was the challenging ‘Two Point Discrimination’ EP, released on the Western Vinyl label as part of their portrait series, but where that record was a collection of haunting experiments in form and sound, ‘The Malady of Elegance’ sees us back into the warming, homespun territory of ‘Corduroy Road’. That’s not to say these compositions are upbeat, far from it in fact, but there are lines to be drawn to folk music, and while Keith no longer draws on the American Civil War as a primary influence there is still the sense that the ghosts of old America haunt the keys.

On top of these references we see Keith tripping somewhat fittingly into a flickering filmic world somewhat in line with his taste in European film. There is a delicate narrative on show throughout the record from the opening hopefulness of Image-Autumn-Womb through the melancholy of Now to the sensitive romance of the album’s closer Evelyn. Listening to the record almost creates its own cinematic accompaniment in the minds eye, and this is simply a testament to Ketih’s incredible talents as a composer.

Fans of Erik Satie, Sylvain Chauveau and Hauschka need look no further, ‘The Malady of Elegance’ is a deeply personal meditation which you cannot help but get lost inside.

Goldmund - The Malady of Elegance (flac 229mb)

01 Image-Autumn-Womb 3:05
02 In A Notebook 2:12
03 Finding It There 3:40
04 Subtle The Sum 1:59
05 Threnody 4:41
06 Now 3:54
07 The Winter Of 1539-1540 2:17
08 Ouendake 3:32
09 John Harrington 6:04
10 Apalachee 4:58
11 The Gardener 1:25
12 Mound Builders 2:51
13 Gifts 4:13
14 Clement Danes 4:11
15 Evelyn 6:55

Goldmund - The Malady of Elegance (ogg 123mb)

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Recorded live in Seattle Washington 2009.

Goldmund - Live At The Triple Door (flac 154mb)

01 Equus 3:55
02 Door Of Our Home 3:45
03 Threnody 3:41
04 In A Notebook 2:31
05 Brown Creek 3:45
06 Saranac 3:28
07 Hope Avenue 2:48
08 Soft Collared Neck 3:34
09 Ba 1:27
10 Parhelia 4:16
11 My Neighorhood 3:36

Goldmund - Live At The Triple Door (ogg 80mb)

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Les Gauthy said...

Thanks !! really thanks!

Mike said...

Do you still have these Goldmund files? I've been looking for a bunch of these and was relieved to see them here, and then sad to see the links expired. Anyway of getting them?

Rho said...

Hello Mike why shouldn't i have these Goldmund files. You could have specified which file you wanted now i had to re-upload the lot...N'Joy

Mike said...

Honestly, I needed the whole lot anyway. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Thanks for these again, and awesome blog