Published Nov 20, 2015Keith Kenniff has become one of American ambient and neo-classical music's central figures over the last decade, and for good reason. Renowned not just for the volume of his recorded catalogue — a dozen studio albums since 2004 under his two main solo projects, Helios and Goldmund, plus a handful of collaborative works — the Portland-based artist has a gift for hiding mastery in simplicity, and for creating some of the most intimate and evocative music in the genre.
It's been four years since the last Goldmund album, All Will Prosper, and three years since Kenniff has come forward with any new music at all (the last being Helios' Moiety, in 2012), but on his return to Goldmund with Sometimes, Kenniff's characteristically raw and tranquil piano arrangements have begun to absorb the ethereal atmospheres of his Helios persona (whose newest album, Yume, came out just two months prior). "Angel" and "Turncoat" feature the dramatic, orchestral crescendos that have come to be expected of Helios, but such full-bodied compositions have rarely been heard in Goldmund recordings.
Regardless, Sometimes remains distinctly Goldmund. Wonderfully simple arrangements like those on "Sometimes" and "Getting Lighter" swell with the emotion of everyday life. Yet, contrary to older Goldmund recordings that captured the untreated air of a private living-room piano session, Kenniff lets his notes trail endlessly on tracks such as "A World I Give" and "In the Byre."
As Kenniff passes the ten-year checkpoint in his recording career, this fall's double offering from both his main acts reveal an artist more aware than ever of what captivates his audiences. On Sometimes, Kenniff has the sentiment and soft touch needed to wistfully score one's quietest and tiniest moments. (Western Vinyl)