Goldmund - Two Point Discrimination
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Two Point Discrimination

To date, I've been a very big fan of the work of Keith Kenniff. He's released several albums under the name Helios (including the excellent Eingya, but he has also put out several releases as Goldmund. Whereas the former name finds him working with ambient organic/electronic structures, the latter finds him creating solo piano tracks that are influenced by everyone from Morton Feldman to Eric Satie.

In some ways, it's similar to the work of Matthew Cooper (under the name of Eluvium), who has released several albums of organic/electronic ambient music, but has also put out a solo improvisational album titled An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death. Two Point Discrimination is the first release on Western Vinyl from Goldmund (Kenniff), but it finds him continuing his solo piano ways, with a batch of eleven short sketches that are occasionally beautiful and sometimes simply a bit bland.

Recorded in a way that allows the sound of the hammers hitting the strings along with pedal noise and other sensations, the mini-album (or EP) seems to be all about immediacy, and at times actually sounds like prepared piano. "Leading" opens the release with just under two minutes of quickly-evolving, overlapping melodies that are more of a stage-setter than anything, while "Then" follows with a track of nearly equal length that sounds like a refrain removed from its surrounding song, as two minutes of contemplative work end just as it sounds like they're going to morph into something else.

Really, that's the biggest problem with the release. Kenniff works with evolving, but repetitive phrasing on Two Point Discrimination, but with the longest piece coming in at just over three minutes, there's really no time for tracks to fully evolve and involve the listener. Instead, things change up usually just about the time they really feel like they're getting going, and it's on to something different. If anything, the super-sparse pieces like "See" and "As" seem to work the best, simply because they act more as tone poems rather than partially-developed pieces that just sort of run out of steam. It's not bad by any means, but when it's playing I largely have the urge to listen to the aforementioned artists (like Satie) instead.

rating: 610
Aaron Coleman 2007-11-15 21:16:53