Kevin Kastning keeps expanding as a guitar phenomenon, and the names more and more frequently catching his performances or sitting down to play are rather daunting, recently including such luminaries as Steve Hackett (Genesis) and Dominic Miller (Sting), the latter of whom Kastning has toured with. More, the list of critics who rate his CDs among the best-of-year, year after year, is rapidly running out of notebook space. Then there's Mark Wingfield, who's likewise mounting in repute as he tours and records with jazz and classical music names like Thomas Stronen, Kate Ryder, Iain Bellamy, and others. The two are mavericks and constantly innovative, Kastning with renovated and invented guitars and Wingfield abandoning conventional amplifiers in order to fine out his sound, which oscillates between Terje Rypdal, John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny, early Bill Frisell, and of course himself.
An Illustrated Silence is the second collaboration between the two and carries a sharper definition than the last. Neither of these guys, though they embody distinctive modes, sits still for very long. Kastning plays his customary all-acoustic dark moody atmospherics while Wingfield mans the electric and live electronics. Sometimes this results in a highly incidentalist piece, as in Ultima Thule No. 1, a song that could have been fitted to The Exorcist or Blair Witch Project, but more frequently dwells in a misty miasmic entablatures of lost byways, abandoned cities, and querulous eventides.
Released by the painstaking Greydisc label, the recording is both rich and barren, empty and chilling when called for or elastically three-dimensional, allowing ears and mind room to stretch out, imagination a somber playground. Soundlessly Drawn is surprisingly melodic…at least insofar as any of Kastning's songs or duets can be said to be so—though of course of a laconic nature and emotionally downtone, pensive, brooding. The CD is over an hour long, that's the norm, and, as ever, an immersion in worlds both familiar and alien. As much as any film, it provides fertile soil for the listener to wander and witness, thrall to dimensions too often otherwise absent in the arts.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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