ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages


Kevin Kastning / Sandor Szabo / Balazs Major - 2021 - "Ethereal IV"

(47:46; Greydisc)


This album was recorded at the Kismaros Concert Hall in Kismaros, Hungary, at the end of Kastning and Szabo’s 2018 European tour. Here we find Kastning on his 30-string guitar, Szabo on electric, and they were joined by famed Hungarian percussionist Balazs Major. I have been fortunate to hear quite a few of Kastning’s album over the last few years, and his approach to a massive multi-string instrument never ceases to amaze (he also often plays a 36-string guitar). Here we find him setting a base which is even more experimental than normal, and in Szabo he finds a perfect foil, while Major assists in taking the music in different directions. Recorded in just one afternoon, here we find the trio improvising and mixing musical threads from multiple different areas in ways which should just not make sense, but somehow do when placed in their hands. It is perhaps no surprise that the two guitarists can bounce and understand each other so much, given they had just completed a tour together, as they had learned to feel where the other musician was going and sometimes join in that direction or move in another altogether to allow the other to come in and follow them. At times reminiscent of some of the work by Markus Reuter, they also allow non-Western ideas to come into their music and at times it can feel quite Oriental, and others Asian, yet always with the feeling of experimentation and allowing the fingers to fall where they will and for the mind to follow. Kevin is the inventor of the 36-string Double Contraguitar, as well as the 30-string Contra Alto guitar featured on this album, and this provides him with a wide expanse of possible note combinations, while Szabo is using many effects pedals to create otherworldly sounds. Somehow, within all this, Major must find his own path and perhaps it is not surprising that at times this means he utilizes a large number of cymbals, while at others his role in the piece is best portrayed by sitting back and waiting the right moment to make an impact. Yet again this is a hugely successful outing by Kastning, whose albums always move in interesting and unexpected directions. It may not be mainstream, but it certainly is intriguing.

Progtector: October 2021

Related Links:

Kevin Kastning Greydisc


ProgressoR / Uzbekistan Progressive Rock Pages