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Audio CD, April 24, 2018

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Solo compositions for 36-string Double Contraguitar, 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, and the world premiere recording of the 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar.


Review for A Connection of Secrets from 2017. Like a portal into a catalog of dreams, any recording featuring Kevin Kastning evokes a singular feeling, a feeling not easily described in words but one that knows no other, whether it be one of his collaborations with numerous other musicians (there must be a couple dozen recordings by now), but especially on his solo albums, of which A Connection of Secrets is only the third. A feeling of stillness pervades the album s ten tracks, not a blur of sounds, but one of sharp focus and heightened senses, where the entire direction and feeling of the music can transmogrify every few seconds, where there is no set rhythm to anchor these nomadic flights of fantastic escapism, performed solo on his 36-string double-neck Contraguitar, a 30-string contra-alto guitar, 15-string classical guitar, all three being custom-designed creations, and occasionally piano. These multi-stringed adventurous epics ebb and soar as the trajectories of whimsy develop and proceed, producing flashes of elemental tone and coloration, and impossibly complex chords and textures; sometimes it almost seems like he s just creating these pieces improvisationaly as he goes along, but his sure-footed masterful technique and approach tells the listener otherwise, that this is somewhere he s been many times before. While one may find some oblique similarities with Steve Tibbetts third album Northern Song, the backgrounds of the two musicians couldn t be more different, but the end results produces a very similar feeling. This is the soundtrack of germinal contemplation that develops instant by instant, and can lead the listener out in many directions. -- Exposé Magazine (US) July 2017 --Exposé Magazine US

Review for A Connection of Secrets from 2017. This third solo album from Kevin Kastning, he of the incredible-looking thirty-six-string Double Contraguitar and thirty-string Contra-Alto guitar, doesn't depart radically from those that have come before, but that it doesn't is in no way objectionable. That's especially so when no other guitarist sounds quite like Kastning and each release feels like the next chapter in an ongoing conversation. Or perhaps it would be more accurate especially when A Connection of Secrets presents the guitarist alone to think of the album less as a conversation and more a seventy-five-minute transcription of his inner musings. Certainly the way a typical setting unfolds is much like the way consciousness does: patterns develop, some thoughts advancing logically and others less so, while at the same time pauses occur, their emergence suggesting deliberation as various ways forward are considered; sudden insights appear as interjections, non sequiturs that nudge the inner dialogue in fresh yet still related directions. Presented with Kastning's improvisatory approach, the listener monitors the artists' ruminative thought patterns as they unfold in real time. Recorded earlier this year during three days in January, A Connection of Secrets was, in fact, recorded live in the studio (sans overdubs) at Studio Traumwald in Massachusetts; produced by Kastning compadre Sándor Szabó, the album is actually the guitarist's twenty-fourth overall and as such finds him completely comfortable with the recording process. With no other instrument sounds competing for one's attention, the listener is able to savour with the utmost clarity the distinctive tone colours of the self-invented guitars Kastning plays on the ten-track collection, two of them featuring the thirty-string, four the thirty-six, and three his fifteen-string Extended Classical. The latter is heard to especially captivating effect on Silent Mirrors and Remembering, though each of the nine guitar-based pieces is compelling in its own way. Throughout the album, rapid runs and clusters alternate with plucked chords, Kastning exploiting to maximum degree the range of dynamics and pitches each guitar type offers. In stark settings such as What you thought were alders in the snow... and ...were fragments of your darkest history, he favours a ponderous approach that allows the material to develop slowly, so much so that one begins to feel privy to his thought processes as they're happening. One rather unexpected move does arise four tracks into the release when Kastning exchanges guitar for piano on Of Grasp and Knowing, though the move is less dramatic than it might appear on paper when his keyboard playing replicates the ruminative style applied elsewhere. On the accompanying press sheet, genres relevant to the release are listed, among them classical, jazz, ambient, and New Age; however, A Connection of Secrets, like Kastning's releases in general, ends up largely transcending demarcated styles to become instead the most recent instantiation of the guitarist's own self-created genre. -- Textura Magazine (CANADA) May 2017 --Textura Magazine CANADA

Review for A Connection of Secrets from 2017. New England based Kevin Kastning is on a roll these past few years. Having released a number of collaboration albums with a range of musicians, Kevin is back with his third solo album in as many years with the 2017 CD release of A Connection Of Secrets. Like many of the classic ECM albums recorded in Europe, Kevin s solo music is ripe with a unique sense of guitar exploration that he fulfills thanks to his recording with a range of peculiar looking instruments, including his 36 string Double Contraguitar. Much of the music he records is quite experimental and improvisational and on A Connection Of Secrets, Kevin s use of pioneering instruments like the 36 string Double Contraguitar, the 30 string Contra Alto and the 15 string Extended Classical guitar fills in all the sonic spaces. Also of note is the inclusion on a track here of a nine foot Kawai grand piano, which shines a light on Kastning s famous, though lesser heard keyboard skills. Even though there s a corresponding line of sonic reasoning running through much of Kastning s work, on A Connection Of Secrets, his sound remains unique and inspired. When asked about the title of his new album, Kevin adds, If I give that away, then it s no longer a secret! I ll say it had to do with how some of the pieces are connected. Also speaking to about why he chose to also feature his piano work on A Connection Of Secrets, Kevin explains, I played a little piano on a record with Sandor Szabo that was recorded during the 2012 European Tour, called The Book Of Crossings, but it was very little and mostly in the background." As is the case with the three Kevin Kastning solo albums and his various group-related projects on Greydisc, A Connection Of Secrets benefits from excellent album artwork and liner notes that indicates what guitars were played on what tracks. Also of note on his 2017 album is that the album also features mixing and mastering by Greydisc recording artist Sándor Szabó, done in his studio in Vác, Hungary. The latest album of groundbreaking, often startling fretboard magic by Kevin Kastning, A Connection Of Secrets is a sonic joyride from start to finish. -- Music Web Express (US) May 2017 --Music Web Express US

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 7476 Fw
  2. 23 Dv
  3. 152 Bl
  4. 0.84 M3
  5. 64 M3
  6. 13.10m
  7. 30 Ml
  8. 22 Mw
  9. 15.5 Mh

Product details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2018)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Greydisc
  • ASIN: B07BZBZ132
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,745 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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