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Kevin Kastning | Becoming

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World: World Fusion Avant Garde: Classical Avant-Garde Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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by Kevin Kastning

Kevin Kastning, Sándor Szabó, and Balázs Major are new music explorers, finding new instrument combinations on the very fringes of emotion and reality. "Becominig" was recorded on location during the trio's 2012 European concert tour.
Genre: World: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Time Sentence Rising
6:19 $0.99
2. The Wind Unheard
5:15 $0.99
3. Morning Behind You
5:06 $0.99
4. Memory and Stirring
3:41 $0.99
5. Of Broken Images Clinging
4:47 $0.99
6. Infinite Ancient Resolve
6:34 $0.99
7. Ninety Degrees in View
5:23 $0.99
8. For You Only Know
4:46 $0.99
9. The Faint Grass Singing
4:16 $0.99
10. An Arboreal Beyond
3:37 $0.99
11. At Evening Rising
3:48 $0.99
12. A Doubled Reflecting
1:11 $0.99
13. No Sound of Water
8:30 $0.99
14. Ritus III
5:07 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
March 2012 saw a European concert tour in support of my album "Triptych," featuring Sándor Szabó and Bálazs Major. During a stop in Vac, Hungary, we had most of one day to record a new album, the one you now hold in your hands, on-location in the concert hall complex where we would be performing that evening. Our recording studio for the day was in a concert hall in the performance complex, though smaller than the main hall where our concert was to be held. One long wall in the concert hall was glass, and looked out onto a lovely courtyard, which contained trees and a walking path. It was a bright and warm spring day, and the trees in the courtyard were well-populated with joyous birds. The birds were holding their own performance, as I could hear their beautiful singing inside our recording hall while tape was rolling. If you listen closely, you'll notice that some of the birds made it onto the album.

The birds weren't the only new additions between this album and Triptych. This album saw Sandor, Balazs, and myself extending the instruments utilized on the recording sessions. Balazs with gongs and additional udus, a deep and resonant African clay drum; Sandor with the 20-string guzheng, a Korean harp-like instrument, and myself with the 16-string Contraguitar and even some piano. I believe that with this album, our trio has achieved a higher level and extended our reach. We are becoming ever closer to our own artistic ideals and expressions.



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The furthest expanses of dreams
In this stunning album Kastning, Szabo & Major create a new aesthetic, a new benchmark in modern music. From the first mystical note, it is immediately apparent that this is music that has evolved past the trite, tired clichés that seem to infect music of all genres today.
I have been a fan of Kastning’s for years, and was delightful surprised by the vigor expressed in this album, a testament to the supple and subtle versatility of Kastning’s playing. I have loved every album he has put out, but must give kudos to such a syncronis and consummate recording; it literally took my breath away.
The addition of percussion to Kastning’s albums adds a voluptuous depth to the textures that Kastning and Szabo were already so adept at creating. The percussion does more than provide a rhythmic base, it acts like the upturned corners of a smile within the music. Sometimes playful, sometimes coy, sometimes secretive, but always adding a lightness to the deft filigreed moods plucked from the guitars. The three have a tremendous range of auras and essence that they journey the listener through over the span of the album. As a trio, the music expressed is thoughtful; filled with alchemical thoughts and philosophical affirmations. Szabo’s clear playing makes poetic utterances; Major brings a lively ambience, while Kastning underpins it all with rich chthonic rumblings from his bass-baritone guitar. The combination is intoxicating, an entirely complex bouquet of sound nourishment.
All three performers on this album are masterful players who draw you into a world of impossibilities made real. What is truly disarming about these three, is how effortlessly they can bring an element of charming surprise to every composition, and make no mistake, these are fully fleshed out compositions, improvised, but so actualized the music is on another plane of consciousness; an entirely new language. I am struck by the necessity of each note within the creation of these soundscape realities. Nothing is a throw away, no note or sound is extraneous or indulgent. There is no meandering, a wonderful rarity in the world of unrehearsed music. No, this music is fully formed, as precocial as Athena born from Zeus’ head, mind blowing for improvisational compositions. Kastning has been quoted as saying that he sees his music as real-time compositions, and he certainly deserves recognition for the purity of line presented in every single track on this album. The instruments are perfectly balanced, with each thread maintaining a luscious distinctness, and yet with no one player exaggerated. Each has a robust beauty to their playing, and listening to the wholeness of the result is like discovering subtle nuances of colour within a winter forest. These are true musicians, in service to music itself.
As I listened I felt as though I was discovering a new world, immersing myself in marveling wonder at this fundamentally new architecture that feels beyond the reckoning of imagination. Yet, within this innovation, there is a perception of future remembrance humming within the body like a forgotten song and it is this sense of lost discovery that makes the music accessible; rung like a clear bell from within.
The music isn’t always easy, because it illuminates truth within the listener, because it requires an active participation in its creation. This is not background music to put on while puttering around, but rather is a sensual pleasure to become enraptured in. This is more than music, it is a conversation.
I enjoyed immensely the entire album, but was particularly enraptured with track 1, Time Sentence Rising, Track 3, Morning Behind You, Track 4, Memory and Stirring, and track 6, Infinite Ancient Resolve. Kastning has always had penchant for poetic naming and he doesn’t disappoint with titles that speak to such luminaries as T.S. Eliot.
I think it can be said with some certainty that Kastning has “become” with this album as he unfurls his tremendous musical gift with humble confidence. This is an album that is filled with frenetic wonder. This music is neoteric, a higher standard of excellence proving that there are still musicians who have dedicated themselves to art. Kastning, Szabo and Major are bold explorers, examining the farthest expanses of dreams, the universe and imagination.