Keith Kenniff’s broad departure from his ambient techno identity Helios is a simple but reasonably varied series of meditations for solo piano. Goldmund, the debut from his alter-ego Goldmund, rolls through pastoral minor-key pieces while hinting at a love of vintage American folk song. Kenniff clearly defines his themes early in the album, when the music-box melody of “Marching Through Georgia” flirts with remnants of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”
Civil War elegies and minimalist forefather Erik Satie appear to be Corduroy Road‘s obvious inspirations. But the album’s most arresting pieces follow the model of frequent Eno collaborator Harold Budd, whose cavernous keyboards often waver delicately between transcendent ambience and new-age gas.
That each of these songs was written in fifteen minutes or less and recorded on first or second take makes Kenniff’s execution more impressive, but he is not yet a truly consistent composer. The skeletal pedal-driven beauty of “Downward to Darkness on Extended Wings” gives way to granola guitar strumming sentiments on “My Neighborhood.” Though moments of introspective beauty find their place throughout Corduroy Road, much of the album fades quickly into the background as Kenniff’s affection for quick nostalgia diminishes the power of his more assertive moments.