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TRACK LIST: 1. Air Distance Transform 5:38 2. From All the Green Around You 5:42 3. The Sharp Crucible of Autumn 7:16 4. Long Quiet Transform of a Thousand Skies 4:24 5. Secret Density 7:25 6. The Mirror of Here 6:01 7. Scattered Rain of Sleep 1:55 8. What When Winter Comes 4:30 9. Into Equilibrium Hesitation 1:42 10. Arch of Unimagined Bridges 6:48 11. A Dark Unscathed 6:37 12. An Image Seen Through 5:06 13. Things Left Unspoken 4:47 LINEUP: Mark Wingfield – electric guitars; sampling Kevin Kastning – acoustic guitars
Prolusion. "I Walked Into the Silver Darkness" is a joint collaboration between UK guitarist Mark WINGFIELD and US guitarist, composer and instrument creator Kevin KASTNING; both of them are well established instrumentalists and performers, the former best known for his involvement in jazz, the latter for his works in contemporary classical music.
Analysis. One of the peculiar aspects and challenges one encounters when writing about music is how personal taste influence the manner in which one regards any particular production. One can try to objectify a number of aspects about any given album of course, but by and large everything comes down to personal taste. One man's rock is another man's diamond – what is intriguing and tantalizing for me may be plodding and tedious for someone else. Some creations will divide writers more than others of course, in particular if they explore a style or expression that ultimately will cater for a niche audience. And I suspect this disc suits such a categorization quite well. There are many fine aspects to pull to the front when exploring this album. Mix and production are of high quality throughout, and the instrumental performance reveals skilled instrumentalists, just as able to explore the subtle nuances of their instruments as they are in covering performances of a rather more challenging and technical nature. Their chosen style comes across as rather unique too, familiar sounds utilized in somewhat unusual combinations with an end result that isn't quite like anything I've encountered previously. It's a production I know will find a lot of praise by many, but I can also easily understand why someone would pull out a long string of negatives about it. Improvised pieces for dual guitars are what this album is all about, with a single approach explored extensively throughout the 13 improvisations included. Kevin Kastning provides the foundation with his acoustic guitar, mostly staying put in the mid-tone register, with occasional use of the darker notes in the register. Gentle wandering passages, brief moments of pace-filled instrument runs and sections with slower, plucked and frequently resonating guitar notes sum up the level of variation, sometimes using all of these subtle variations within a single number and at other times opting to explore one of them in depth, most times with a delivery that does bring associations towards jazz music. Contrasting his exploits is the electric guitar of Wingfield. Careful, resonating light-toned notes and slow, longing guitar soloing with a crying sound forms the main perimeters of his contributions throughout, with occasional lapses towards plucked notes, on a few select cuts resonating, twisted feedback is used to good effect for a darker, more noise-oriented texture, Wingfield to a much greater degree than Kastning with a delivery that comes with automatic associations towards jazz and fusion. The improvisations as such tend to be rather one-dimensional. Dampened, ambient excursions exploring a given mood and atmosphere, rarely developing in any direct manner. Melancholic yet beautiful, sadly longing pieces that end as they start, carefully exploring a single mood with subtle alterations in delivery in a very in depth and thorough manner. By and large this CD in itself is a thorough excursion of such moods as explored by the set instruments at a certain level of pace and intensity. Very much alike in sound, most would probably be described as pretty much identical by those who don't have a deep interest in music – the perfect soundtrack for scenes of dark and desolate movie scenes where the mood is to be sad and melancholic rather than threatening and brooding.
Conclusion. "I Walked Into the Silver Darkness" is a CD that most likely will appeal to a limited audience. If you enjoy improvised music with guitars only, are intrigued by dual combinations of acoustic and electric guitars and have a special interest in pieces of that kind with a careful, dampened expression you might want to take notice, especially if you like jazz, and in particular if you're a guitarist yourself. Much the same goes for those who are into ambient music that aims to explore moods of sadness, longing and melancholy.
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