I always regard the release of a new Kevin Kastning CD as more an event that a mere issuance, as one never quite knows what they guy is going to be up to next. Music such as his is rare indeed, which is why he's been attracting so much attention from so many quarters (having recently, for instance, finished a disc with the formidable Michael Manring, to be issued later in 2012). For Triptych, Kastning rejoins long-time partner Sándor Szab&0acute; but also brings in Balàzs Major, who has partnered with the latter guitarist in the Szabó-Major Duo, a gent who changes several sonic characteritiscs while remaining syncopatic to the moody Kastning sound.
The first cut, Triptych 1, starts straightaway in a landscape both stripped down and lush in its barren beauty, understated but gleaming with foggy light and glimpsed vistas, much like Ken Browne's evocative paintings gracing the release in a, you guessed it, triptych (the ECM design of the CD is completely appropos). One of my favorite unknown masterpieces of modern music is Morphogenesis' first release (still available, so far as I know, only in the original cassette form) because it's so Stockhausenly incidentalist, and Kastning has frequently, either in entire songs or passages, woven that mode further into musicality while retaining the overpoweringly alien pictorial aspects. The addition of Major does much to sketch out new terrain, to architect the environment more subtly.
Hats off to the designer for enlarging Browne's compelling abstractist Hudson River / Turner canvases within the liner's tri-fold interior. Beautiful! Gorgeous! And so evocative of the music that the two suggest one another telepathically. As ever, the compositions are improvised on the spot, which always lends an added dimension to any music, yet appear impeccably pre-written, detailed to the last jot and tittle, to the final gesture and inference. Lower the lights, sit back, turn off the thought processes, and just listen. There's nothing more required, but, oh my, what occurs when you do so in the presence of such art.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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