Kevin Kastning & Carl Clements - 2022 - Strand in Strands

(58:12; Greydisc Records)

Here we have the latest release from the pairing of Kevin Kastning and Carl Clements, two wonderful musicians who have already released some wonderful albums together and are now returning with their latest, ‘Stand In Strands’. Kevin works with a multitude of different musicians in his improvised world, yet his works with Carl have been some of his most successful in the past, and this has proved so again this time around. Kevin provides 17-string extended hybrid classical guitar, 12-string contraguitar and 12-string baritone guitar while Carl in on tenor and soprano saxophones, and here they can be found bouncing ideas off each other in way that is both relaxing and exciting as they uncover new grounds together.

Kevin is often the most frenetic, with his picking quite staccato, and against that is Carl’s more languid approach with notes which are often held and extended. If one feels the other is in a particularly inspired passage then they may step away for a second, allowing them each to breathe and regather before joining their forces together once again. Kevin has long been recognised as a wonderful guitarist, and his continued use of instruments with far more strings than can be healthy (in fact, this recording features some of his smaller guitars) allows him to move music in directions well outside of the norm, while imbuing plenty of classical feeling into music which is avant garde and exciting. The saxophones are melodic and provide a wall for the guitars to be placed against, one having a certain strength and presence while the other is far more fragile and fleeting. The result is something which is beautiful and dynamic, continually moving and shifting, wonderfully invigorating while also allowing the listener to relax in their world while playing this on headphones so none of the nuances are missed. If you have not previously come across Kevin and his continued works with other musicians, then this is a great place to start.  

Kev Rowland, July 2023



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