Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Album Review: The Front Porch of Heaven by Kevin Keller

Kevin Keller is an award-winning pianist and electronic music composer who has released numerous albums over the years. Having composed music for film and television, Kevin’s work has been featured in documentaries for the History Channel and received airplay on nationally syndicated radio programs. With musical roots inspired by innovative musical legends like Tangerine Dream, Wendy Carlos, Brian Eno and Harold Budd, Kevin’s own work is often described as ambient chamber music that blends minimalist classical and ambient-electronic styles.

Inspired by the existential and often-asked question, “When we die, where do we go?”, Kevin Keller’s latest album, The Front Porch of Heaven, came to fruition after he underwent open heart surgery. Having the foreknowledge that he’d be close to death – unconscious and without a heartbeat while placed on life support – Kevin returned from the edge of the unknown with the inspiration to compose what is easily his most beautiful set of compositions to date.

Comprised of six instrumental passages spanning just under forty minutes, The Front Porch of Heaven boasts hauntingly affecting soundscapes featuring melodic ambient sequencing, sparse piano notes, shoegaze electric guitar and subtly cinematic strings throughout. Right from the opening piece, we’re gently led through what feels like an endless mirrored corridor, wherein beautiful dreams and sacred memories are projected everywhere by surrounding incandescent light. Warm, organic and flowing, the pieces are mostly propelled along by gently pulsating rhythms, all while evoking feelings throughout of longing, nostalgia and subtle emotional tension.

As a near-death survivor myself, The Front Porch of Heaven not only explores a subject close to home that I can personally relate to, but does so with inexplicably beautiful perfection. While I highly enjoyed Kevin Keller’s previous two albums, Ice Worlds and La Strada, this album goes even deeper emotionally and gets to the heart – both figuratively and literally – of the composer behind the sonic splendor.

Enthusiastically recommended to fans of artists like Tangerine Dream, Patrick O’Hearn, Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie, The Front Porch of Heaven is a beautifully brilliant work that lingers on long after the journey has ended! ~Candice Michelle

Available at Amazon, Bandcamp & iTunes. For more information, please visit the artist's website.