KEVIN KASTNING/BALAZS MAJOR
(2018 - Greydisc Records - USA)
A stirring and exotic, almost out of body equal collaboration between two masters, American born Kevin Kastning (30 string Contra-Alto guitar) and from Hungary, Balazs Major (various world percussion), that runs out of adjectives when trying to describe. Certainly mysterious, sometimes otherworldly, always exemplary. The pair effortlessly explore endless textures, spaces, nuances, and terrains. 'Kismaros' consists of seven movements, all kept exactly as originally performed, in the order as created. The entire recording was done in a single day, in a concert hall in Hungary, named Kismaros (no mystery to the title now), while Kastning's trio was on the 2018 European tour. The well seasoned artists have worked together on two previous recordings under a trio setting, but this is their debut as a duo.
They stay spontaneous, improvising wondrous and equal parts, that float along a stream of consciousness unlike any other. This leaves the listener with room to contemplate, to take deep breaths, and to soak in the beautiful artistry occurring between Kastning and Major. Each movement has a fresh feel (as it should), and like the different seasons of the year, one echoes spring with new life, the spreading of greenery, scent of flowers, and sounds of nature. Another brings the cool crisp air of autumn, and then sunbeams and bright meadows of summer. Then a snug fireplace setting, and quiet winter, with its faint sounds of wind and snow. The imagery and atmospheres are vivid and easy to imagine for the listener, as the two musicians play so lovingly.
With patience and your undivided attention, both the music and the scenes are gifted in kind. Both artists are in the moment throughout. You can be in the moment too. Just listen and relax. The gorgeous cover art (a photograph by Laszlo Hutton) on this gatefold digipak, does justice to the music inside. Just over 50 minutes of bliss and creations that speak to the soul.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 1 - 5 - 2019