The Experimedia label run by Jeremy Bible has an uncanny ability for finding electro-acoustic artists whose creative musical output seems to originate from an almost symbiotic relationship with their surroundings, Keith Freund is one of those artists. Normally playing guitar as one half of Akron Ohio based husband and wife duo Trouble Books, here Freund plays solo over 12 tracks full of wonderfully detailed field recordings from everyday life in his neighbourhood.

If I could drag an electric guitar, 1970’s Elka Rhapsody string synth, field recorder, Ebow and amp through my local neighbourhood, recording on the way, this album is probably close to what it would sound like, but that is probably an experiment too far where I live!  With Freund’s guidance you feel like you are right there listening to light rain on the car roof, on the sidewalk being sidestepped by passers-by, down at the poolside, out in the garden regaled by birdsong and church bells, on that train journey.  It could be the diary of a great day out, but we know it is actually snatches of recordings spanning 2007 – 2010. Throughout these sound diaries you are accompanied by the occasionally melancholic, but usually cheerfully neutral, sound of Freund’s accompaniment on guitar or the wonderfully wobbly Elka synth. There are some tracks in between without field recordings like Horses on Air and For All Our Dead Pets, but for me it is the tracks with the recordings that really work on this album. Given that the final recordings were transferred to cassette tape and then onto vinyl you might have expected some sound degradation, but other than some nice warm and rather colourful hiss the final render by Taylor Deupree is excellent.

I thoroughly enjoyed this brief meander through Freund’s local soundscapes and I can see this release being a fast seller amongst fans of the electro-acoustic and field recording scenes. You have to love those quirky song titles and the playout on the last track is guaranteed to make you smile. Freund will shortly be touring Europe in August so the potential for hearing some of the album in a live situation is quite an exciting and real prospect.  Hopefully there will be a digital release for those of us, like me, who do not own a vinyl player and I was thankful for mp3’s to review this album. I highly recommend you obtain a copy of this superb release.

Keith Freund – Constant Comments. Experimedia EXPLP019. Released August 16th 2011 on 12″ vinyl LP. Limited to 300 copies with 100 in green vinyl. Mastered by Taylor Deupree

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The full album is currently streaming for two weeks on the Fluid Radio website here