FAME Review: Kevin Kastning / Mark Wingfield - Dark Sonatas
Kevin Kastning / Mark Wingfield - Dark Sonatas

Dark Sonatas

Kevin Kastning / Mark Wingfield

Greydisc - GDR3516

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Kind of reassuring, isn't it?, that in these strange times of turmoil and deception, some are working to keep us in what nourishes mind and soul, even if they're the deeper recesses of those faculties. Dark Sonatas is the latest web of brooding spontaneity from Kevin Kastning and Mark Wingfield, and we find that Mr. Wingfield has adapted ever more appositely to Kastning's Gothic thinkery and with increasingly surprising agility. It's not easy to mentate thusly, yet he fits like hand in glove, and the two continue their previous terrain with newer and more obscure, yet just as bizarrely delineated, wrinkles.

It turns out that Elliott Carter (the guy lived to 104!: born in 1908, passing away in 2012) was a prime inspiration this time out, though, in Kevin's and Mark's hands, it sounds more like Carter sieved through Blomdahl, Penderecki, and Sharrock with a touch of Fripp's wilder shores in Evening Star, what with the strange electronic oscillations, slurs, feedback, and such emanating from Wingfield's electric. Kastning remains rooted in his acoustic axes and has again increased his soundfield with the new 30-string contra-soprano guitar flanked by a trusty standard arsenal: 16-string contraguitar, 12-string extended baritone guitar, and 12-string alto.

Contrapunctus Opscurum I hits some sardonic and even cartoonishly arch notes as the freeform dialogue progresses, bending the milieu into surreal Tex Avery-esque malformations amid Dalinian meltscapes and Venosan grotesqueries. Illustratio Triocha II gets even more out of hand, slidey and spacey with leashed distortions and elastic wormholes. Pure chaos is never a factor, that's for the free jazz crowd, this is much more in the way of neoclassical (Carter again!) and post-neo: form with function with essence, guided by Nature and mind, transcribing imagination into already exotic structure, not the dance of a mad Kali. As ever, throughout Kevin Kastning's impressively increasing catalogue, this is not music for your grandmother or The Zombie Nation tuning in Oprah and Phil but rather, running back to Fripp again, mobile intelligent units athirst for rescue from the stultifying realities of an Earth going progressively more Orwellian day by day.

And here's a very nice little tidbit directly from Kevin to me to you, the FAME website readers: he intends on issuing a solo disc this year, and that should be VERY interestng indeed, hinting at qualities kinda like Philip Glass' Solo Piano CD in its own way.

Track List:

  • Incipit Opscurum
  • Sonata Tenebrae No. 1
  • Illustratio Triocha I
  • Contrapunctus Opscurum I
  • Langsam Velata
  • Andante Sostenuto
  • Sonata Tenebrae No. 2
  • Contrapunctus Opscurum II
  • Allegro Cimmerian
  • Sonata Tenebrae No. 3
  • Sonata Di Scuro No. 1
  • Sonata Di Scuro No. 2
  • Illustratio Triocha II
All compositions by Kevin Kastning and Mark Wingfield.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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