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Album Review

Those who mistake ambient music for an endless tapestry of unwavering atmosphere, pleasant yet indistinguishable, should be handed as an argument to the contrary this CD by a recent signee to Merck's rapidly expanding roster. Through 13 tracks of inarguably pretty music, Keith Kennif displays the musical equivalent of a genius screen actor, able to send a million moods and messages with the most subtle of facial gestures. The opening pair of songs, "Velius" and "Cullin Hill," point to a blissful treat which sits on just the right side of new age symmetry (particularly given the former's live glistening piano treatment). But only eight beats into "Nine Black Alps," the sensation is irreversibly altered by a single, mournful bass note which rumbles like Hades against the bucolic tone that lead up to it. Unshackled, Kennif continues to roam, drifting into circular beats on "Two Mark" before wandering off into weightless asphyxiation on "Samsara." He even allows for the organic sound of faint acoustic guitar and piano to join his endless travels on "Light House," giving a moment of real world clarity at the eye of this hallucinogenic work. Few could get away with a singular ghostly voice transmission without implying a stretch for ideas, but by the time he reaches the ninth song, "Suns That Circling Go," Kennif is so recognized as an explorer that you cannot be surprised by where he may arrive next.


Born: Massachusetts

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Boston-based ambient indie electronic artist Helios is Keith Kenniff, a Berklee College of Music student who has also gone under the moniker Goldmund. As Helios, his recordings include Unomia (2004), Eingya (2006), and in September 2007 a mini-album that for the first time featured Kenniff's fragile...
Full bio
Unomia, Helios
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