I'm rapidly running out of adjectives and adverbs when it comes to Kevin Kastning and his many team-ups with top-shelf musicians, and In Stories is his latest re-alliance with Europe's highly impressive Mark Wingfield. However, if you might imagine my linguistic claim of failing language to be a writer's foil for sloth, then merely listen to the opening cut, From the Passing of Summer, and see if you can embody what's occurring and do so in mere semantics. Good luck. Following the year's earlier astounding disc with Carl Clements, Watercolor Sky (here), Kastning and Wingfield take a left turn and head for abstract territories so profound yet so literate that parallels are impossible to draw. Even Steve Hackett was wow'ed by Kastning's techniques, and Wingfield has been commissioned more than once for classicalist pieces, though In Stories is neither progrock nor classical.
Listen, for instance, to the latter's subtle, damped, slowly variegated power-down at the 3:00 mark in Passing of Summer, Kastning going quiet to let the interlude tread its course, Mark's passage re-stated more emphatically as the track closes, following Kevin's assorted boomings, percussionistics, and Florentine strumming, every inch of the eight minutes completely improvised, as are all the cuts, in unnervingly sympathetic telepathies. Along with free jazz, prog, the avant-garde, and various other boundary-pushers, this CD is about as progressive as it's possible to get, yet simultaneously baroque and pre-Raphaelite by way of Roualt and Ernst. Wingfield favors a beyond-the-pale Rypdalian approach throughout the disc and some of Kastning's oddments and punctuations become Morphogenetic, in A Distant Chime and Longing particularly, but that's just the beginning.
It's rather amazing that, despite a prolific catalogue, none of the songs or passages from any Kastning releases have been inserted into science-fiction or horror movies. Many movements here would have accented, for instance, John Carpenter's rivetingly eerie reworking of The Thing to perfection, put the core of the chill to an already frozen landscape, expanded auxiliary cerebral effects. Needless to say, this isn't music for sharing unless you have some extremely brainy friends. It's much more a pensive, brooding, reflective set of alternate states without need of drugs. So, f'Godsakes, don't play In Stories as background music when you and the wife have the in-laws over for dinner and sherry. They'll think you're insane and hustle their daughter back to Sheboygan with them, posthaste. That wouldn't be good!…though, it'd certainly give you plenty of time to immerse yourself in this uniquely sublime aesthetic experience.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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