New artist of the week: Goldmund

Keith Kenniff’s serene, minimal sounds chime with a growing market for tranquil tunes

Keith Kenniff aka Goldmund

Keith Kenniff aka Goldmund

 

Who: A composer of soothing minimal music
Where: Portland, Oregon
Why: Minimal, neo-classical and ambient are some of the winners of the streaming music era. As Spotify and smart speakers aim to provide the soundtrack to your mood and moments, wordless music has found new audiences who, in a bustling world, need backdrops of quiet.

Composers and musicians such as Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnalds and Dustin O’Halloran were so popular that Spotify faced accusations that it was paying for music to be made from composers and subsequently posting those tracks onto popular playlists such as Ambient Chill and Peaceful Piano under fake names, presumably in order to avoid paying huge royalties on such highly-trafficked playlists.

Regardless of licensing issues, there remains a fertile bed of composers in the neo-classical and contemporary vein who are broadcasting to a previously untapped audience on Spotify and racking up millions of plays in the process.

Goldmund - Occasus

Keith Kenniff, who makes music as Goldmund (and Helios) isn’t a new artist, but he may as well be. His early work (eight albums strong) was heard by a niche audience, but the popularity of relaxing sounds has prompted composers like him to pick up returning fans.

A good starting point for Goldmund’s releases is this year’s Occasus album.

Typical of his work, the 15-track LP is laden with somnambulist piano instrumentals, with the odd effect or noise embellishing the arrangement.

Every now and again, the din rises above a whisper, such as on the malevolently building arc of No Story. Occasus is mostly, like Goldmund’s other work, an Arcadian collection of music that offers tranquility and a sense of serenity.

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