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Kastning, Kevin: A Connection Of Secrets

A Connection Of Secrets is Kevin Kastning's 24th album for Greydisc Records and across those two dozen CDs, it's doubtful that anyone else has crafted music as personal or uncompromising. Kastning is a guitarist, but not in the conventional sense, the instruments employed here being 36 string double contraguitar, 30 string contra-alto guitar and 15 string extended classical guitar. Other than on the song "Of Grasp And Knowing", where Kastning plays piano, that's it. Each track takes one instrument and explores its reach and possibility, no accompaniment, no vocals. Instead each is a celebration of the instrument being used, the CD sleeve going as far as to give a breakdown of which track utilises which guitar (or piano). It's a true show of dedication on Kastning's part, the love and care he has for his caressed weapons clear to hear from start to finish. It's virtually impossible not to be impressed, or nearly bowled over by the virtuosity and fastidious nature in which every string strike is structured and crafted… Whether it makes for a hugely engaging listening experience, however, is never quite so assured.

Deep, dark and dense throughout, there's no easy way in. No melody, nor conventional structure to set your nerves at ease. The lone guitars punctuating an otherwise silent album, the pause between notes just as important as the notes themselves. In places it's almost like a secretive conversation where you can hear what's going on without ever truly feeling you're deriving the same understanding as those having it. If I was being unkind, it's almost as thought Kastning doesn't really take into consideration what the pieces may or may not mean to anyone else (something you could argue that all music should adhere to, to be honest). While Kastning and his dedicated group of followers would beg to differ, no doubt, for anyone not fully versed, or indeed excited by how these rare and idiosyncratic instruments give life to their music, you could go as far as to suggest that, firstly, not much really happens across the ten tracks presented here and secondly, that what does stubbornly refuses to let you see things from their viewpoint.

Kevin Kastning is an immense talent and one to be admired. However, even with that in mind, the whole starting point for A Connection Of Secrets keeps this album as just that. A collection of tracks unwilling to reveal their inner meanings.


Track Listing
1. No Light; but Rather
2. Or Why It Came to You
3. Before Return and Prior
4. Of Grasp and Knowing
5. What You Thought Were Alders in the Snow...
6. ...Were Fragments of Your Darkest History
7. Silent Mirrors and Remembering
8. As Through a Window Circumscribed
9. Not Here the Darkness
10. Under the Surge Of

Added: June 4th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: A Connection Of Secrets at CD Baby
Hits: 174
Language: english

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