Through his minimal, piano-centred ambient music, Goldmund (aka Pennsylvania’s Keith Kenniff) has crafted an instantly recognizable sound without it ever feeling recycled. ‘The Time It Takes’ (October 16, Western Vinyl) is another emotional album, and one that recalls loss and mourning – not on a personal scale, but a global one – and it’s also capable of shining with hope, patiently waiting for better days to come.
A single piano is enough to deepen the waters of sorrow, but a radiating synth is there to uplift it, support it, and to set it on its feet again; the synth and the other additional elements are threads of optimism, running throughout the music. Chords as bright as slanted sunlight peek through and break free, and Kenniff is a master at developing the atmosphere. The compositions unfold in their own time, but they’re always seeking to grow, standing taller and taller, like a sunflower as it seeks out its source of light. In the same way, the chords drink in the light as if it contained vital nutrients, not only sustaining the music but making it come to life.
‘Day In, Day Out’ sets the tone for the rest of the record, where a gorgeous, glowing piano is made heavier, richer, and fuller by way of processing. Goldmund’s music expands from a single point, developing from a single phrase or melody, eventually burning brighter and brighter and wrapping itself up in an ambient-tinted atmosphere. The piano is a constant, and it feels old, as well. Music can remind the listener of a certain period, bringing back recollections, faces, and places. Nostalgia is emotionally powerful, and music will always be linked to it, but Goldmund’s music evokes the past in a natural way, without any over-saturation and free of clichés. It all floods back into an ageing mind thanks to the piano’s reminiscences.
The pieces of music are more like vignettes, episodes for a withdrawing mind, and the caves of reverb also help in deepening the experience. One can always expect the highest quality when it comes to Goldmund’s music, and The Time It Takes is no different; there are some truly striking tracks on this album, perhaps no higher than the finale, ‘The Valley In Between’, which ends the album on an incredible note, and one barely above a whisper. Sparse and atmospheric, its echoes are eternal.