I wrote a piece about Harold Budd over the weekend for exclaim.ca. The ambient music legend (whose not altogether fond of that label by the way) left behind minimalism early in his career to devote himself to music that was uncompromisingly “pretty.” It was a move that would earn him international acclaim.
Pennsylvania’s Keith Kenniff has a similarly bright future ahead of him, producing a style of music not unlike Budd’s. Recording under the name Goldmund, Kenniff is quietly building an impressive catalogue.
Occasus is his latest. Composed for piano, synthesizer and just the right amount of deterioration, Kenniff has delivered a perfectly imperfect stunner.
“I like mistakes,” he’s quoted as saying in the album’s notes. “I like when things don’t go perfectly. I do have a tendency to want things to be perfect and precise. But I have to also realize that a lot of things I like about music and art are very rough and impulsive, the slight imperfections that give something or someone a unique voice.”
In this respect, Kenniff shares a similar sensibility with Adrian Dziewanski, whose lovely The Trail Loops Back explores the same kind of celebration of imperfection. Both releases’ notes refer to the Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi.
And while Dziewanski’s album deserved a positive comparison to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s async, Kenniff can lay claim to having worked with the celebrated Japanese composer. Sakamoto, like a lot of us, describes Kenniff’s work as “so, so, so beautiful.”