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Kastning, Kevin: 17/66

Kevin Kastning is no stranger to this website or the Greydisc label having been with them for near twenty years. For me personally, this will be my eighth review of his work. His latest album is titled 17/66 and for this piece the musician has kept it completely solo. If you are familiar with the artist you will know of his inventions with regards to multi-stringed acoustic instruments. On the album Kastning plays 36-string Double Contraguitar, 30-string Contra-Alto guitar and 17 string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar. According to the liner notes Kastning took a different approach to writing this album looking at compositional structure in terms of harmonic blocks. Not being a music theorist I will leave further descriptions for others more qualified. For me it’s all about how the music makes me feel, so let’s dive in.

As usual the album was recorded live with no overdubs. As with all of Kastning’s work I have heard, it is rather difficult to wrap your head around. The melodies do not immediately jump out and there is a sparseness here, a feeling of isolation that surrounds these nine tracks. It is also difficult pointing out individual tracks as his pieces are always best listened to as a whole. Music for playlists this does not make. It is also difficult discerning the improvisational from the compositional, again this serves to the music’s enigmatic nature. The tracks flow nicely together beginning with “7476 fw”. Gentle chords and harmonics give this song a feeling of tranquility making this suitable for nighttime listening. The second track “23 dV” has the chords more vigorously plucked along with fluidic runs. It’s quite ambient in parts and is certainly experimental/avant in its construction. The ringing arpeggios in “0.84m3” are also quite nice as are the gentle tones of “13.10m”, another minimalistic piece.

As with any of Kastning’s work, 17/66 isn’t something I would play at any occasion. The mood and setting has to be just right in order for this music to reach its full potential. In those moments this music just might have the ability to calm your very being.

Track Listing:
I. 1230z
1. 7476 fw (4:56)
2. 23 dV (6:51)
3. 152 BL (5:04)
II. ML-G/137
4. 0.84m3 (8:40)
5. 64m3 (5:37)
6. 13.10m (9:07)
7. 30mL (9:27)
8. 22mV (4:47)
9. 15.5mH (8:37)

Added: July 30th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 764
Language: english

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