Monday, March 14, 2016

Kevin Kastning, Carl Clements, A Far Reflection

Kevin Kastning, as this blog noted earlier in the year for another album, has created a wonderful new sound out of the 36-string double contraguitar and the 30-string contra-alto guitar. The latest, a very uplifting duo recording with reedman Carl Clements, A Far Reflection (greydisc 3529), brings us another dimension in the universe of possibilities.

Carl has an explorative voice of his own on tenor and soprano saxes, alto flute and bansuri flutes. He has a beautiful sound on each instrument. It compliments Kastning's special sonarity in poetic ways. The deftly imaginative Kastning harp-guitar multiple sounding melodic-harmonic emanations have a wind counterpart on these thoroughgoing two-voiced improvisations that fulfill the sonic promises the music contains in potent reserve. You might say that the music comes to full completion through the silences between, before and after the music sounds. The space between the notes are an equal partner in all this. It is in the soundings and the silences working together that we feel palpably the musical space that is so integral to the magic of this duet set.

This is music of great atmosphere but also of intelligence, of creative sonic-decision making. Not only does the music speak in a lush carpet of sound, each strand interrelates finely to the others like a treasured hand-made rug from earlier times. And whether listening in broad terms or subjecting each set of phrases to microscopic scrutiny, the music bears forth with cohesion and depth.

In short, this is music of ravishing improvisational artistry, a seventy-minute adventure of near breathtaking presence. Kastning and Clements come through with a gem worthy of their considerable abilities. Hear this!

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