Goldmund | All Will Prosper

Western Vinyl (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  December 6, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars


On his quiet, haunting fifth album under the Goldmund moniker, Keith Kenniff plays three instruments: acoustic guitar, piano, and the scrapes and scruffs of ambient room noise. If you're familiar only with the producer-instrumentalist's more upbeat, electro-oriented work with Helios and Mint Julep, you're in for an arctic-chill bitchslap. This is, Kenniff's (and, possibly, the year's) most ghostly minimal gem. Motivated by a life-long fascination with the Civil War, Kenniff teleports back — via rusty analogue time machine — to the saloon-littered 1800s, reinterpreting 14 of the era's most enduring traditional folk ballads. His touch is feather-light, eliminating dynamic range and climaxes. Acoustics are warmly fingerpicked, pianos reverberate endlessly like winter wind — all showcasing the simple beauty of the original melodies. At times, the effect transcends gorgeous and moves into the spiritual — "Shenandoah" could be Heaven's elevator music, or Celtic Moods lobby tunes drowning out a Sigur Rós gig. At times, you wish Kenniff would expand his sonic palette, but his archaic reverence is ultimately overwhelming. As precious as your grandma's finest china (and 10 times prettier), All Will Prosper nearly dissolves into shapeless clouds by album's end. But by then you've already dissolved into it.
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