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Although Kevin Kastning (36-string Double Contraguitar, 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, 15-string Extended Classical guitar, 12-string soprano guitar) had previously recorded duo albums with both Sandor Szabo (16-string Classical guitar) and Carl Clements (Flute, Alto flute, Bansuri flutes), the latter two musicians had not previously played together at all although they were aware of the albums the other had recorded with Kevin. But when Sandor arranged to travel to America for two weeks to record, Kevin felt it was too good of an opportunity to miss so asked each of them if they would like to perform as a trio for the first time? They booked a studio for a day, and on 29th October 2015 they improvised together and ended up recording enough material for two albums, of which this is the first. I am a huge fan of Kastning, as his use of multi-stringed instruments is quite different to anything else I have come across, and his work with the other musicians involved in this has always been fascinating. Here we have an interesting experiment as while both Sandor and Carl are used to playing with Kevin, this was the first time they had played with each other, and one can imagine them staring intently at each other, trying to understand where the music is going to take them. While the woodwind is generally the lead instrument, it is the relationship between that and the guitars which make the music what it is. The listener needs to pay close attention as there is something very special being delivered and it is hard to fathom that this music was all being improvised and they were just bouncing ideas as opposed to working from a score. It comes to something when a 12-string is the smallest guitar being played, yet while fans of the likes of Anthony Phillips and Twice Bitten are undoubtedly going to be intrigued by this, here we have music which is also for fans of classical music while also bringing in the inventiveness and excitement of avant garde jazz, while always maintaining a certain sense of beauty. Described as East/West fusion by the musicians involved, this is yet another delicate release from Greydisc which is worthy of investigation.
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