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Goldmund

Famous Places

(Western Vinyl; US: 24 Aug 2010; UK: Import)

In his third release under the Goldmund moniker, composer Keith Kenniff gives us another striking set of solo piano pieces. As the album’s title, Famous Places, implies, each of this record’s 15 tracks represents a specific place, and each carves out its own landscape in doing so. These songs can be fluid lullabies, muted, plunking dystopias, spacious reflections, and whatever else they want to be. The negative space around Kenniff’s notes is as much a vital sound here as the notes themselves, and he smartly helps the notes echo out in places with the faintest—and I mean barely there—ambient flourishes. Famous Places is an insistently quiet record, one that forces you to turn the stereo way up, or to cup your hands over your headphones to hear each aching note. However, that agency for the listener, that interaction you must have to fully absorb this music, is what makes it such a worthwhile experience. When you do your part, Kenniff rewards you with a rich and varied set, and one that, for its spare elements and quiet stillness, ends up delivering its own brand of expansiveness.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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This is the sort of minimalist music that fills a room with even the faintest of its sounds.
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