One of the most useful things on Last.fm is the ability to see when you first scrobbled a track and artist. I first discovered Helios
(aka Keith Kenniff
) in 2008, polling my first play-through of his album Eingya
on the 1st of October of the same year. Just over two years later, I have purchased every piece of music of Keith's that I can find which is actually quite easy in the modern age as it's all available from his own site Unseen Music
.Addendum: I realise I hardly discussed the sound of the subject and that's because it's exceedingly difficult to do so. In the most pragmatic of terms I could mention the soft bells that open the piece which evolves into soaring pads and reverbed distorted electric guitar, but with this piece in particular I feel like I'm short-changing it by doing so. I do apologise, but you really do just have to listen to it!
It was so difficult to choose only one piece of music from Keith's humbling collection of works to represent how his music has effected me for this series. Every single piece he creates is a wonder, an amazing and intimate work that expresses emotions far beyond the reach of spoken and written language. I could probably write pages of redundant text on every piece but in the end it would be meaningless. Keith's music simply has to be listened to, and for me it lives in the realm of experiencing an amazing film with one or two friends after which no-one says a word and simply lets their expressions and behaviour speak for themselves.
Some months back I watched the Live in Snohomish performance of Even Today
which was posted on Unseen at the time, after which I promptly purchased the DVD. It's one of only two recordings that I know of that contain the track, the other being the Live At The Triple Door
album which I purchased in December a few weeks ago. There are slight differences between the two performances, mainly that in Snohomish, Keith added a subtle kick/bass drum to the later part of the piece. It's not better or worse in any way, I simply prefer the Live at the Triple Door version.
Having heard the Snohomish version a few times already, I was a little unprepared for what happened on my first listen-through of Live at the Triple Door
. Having just bought and downloaded it the evening before, I burnt it to disc for the car and ended up listening to it on the way home from work. It may not be so much about the differences between the two recordings, for all I know the same thing would have happened had the Snohomish version been contained on the disc, but when Even Today
started up I was transfixed. It led me to believe that I really need to be careful as to when I listen to it as I almost release all of my senses to be totally immersed in the sound. All of the things I feel when listening to BT's album This Binary Universe
happen to the same extreme level when I listen to Even Today
, and naturally it creates its own unique colour and depth coming from a different artist. The perception of impossibly grand scale yet the closest of intimacy is very much in evidence and naturally a whole swirl of emotions are given life by the phenomenon.
When I write these entries, I always have the subject playing on repeat in the background and for the last minute and a half of Even Today, I've been stopping to listen, closing my eyes from the light of the computer screens every time. There really isn't much more to be said with words on how amazing this piece of music is; the more I try, the more I fail to create an abstract of it. You just need to hear it.
By now I think I've provided enough commentary on good critical listening practices so as with most of these pieces of music, I'll always recommend a darkened room free of interruptions and distractions. Naturally individuals perceive music in ways unique to their psyche and experience so by no means do I guarantee this piece will strike you the way it did me. Nevertheless the darkened room is still one of the best ways to experience music, to sit back, clear your mind, close your eyes and listen. I've not yet dared listen to this while out and about with my canal-phones but listening to it now makes me think I'd want to stop and let the music transform what I was seeing, perhaps not a good idea if I happen to be crossing a busy city street at the time. One final note is that the piece does work at louder volumes considering its quiet beginnings. You really want the final movement to be in full force and effect when it emerges.
This entry completes a kind of bracket in my playlist with pieces of music that probably emphasise that sense of distance and closeness that I'm so fond of, and I couldn't think of a better piece of music to close with. The next bracket will deal a little in a sense of romanticism as I continue to explore a tiny sample of the music that has heavily influenced my life and experience.