Kevin Kastning & Sandor Szabo | Parallel Crossings

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Album Links
Kevin Kastning: official website Kevin Kastning: My Space site Sandor Szabo: official website

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United States - Mass. - Western

Other Genres You Will Love
Classical: Chamber Music Avant Garde: Modern Composition Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Parallel Crossings

by Kevin Kastning & Sandor Szabo

Modern classical experimental guitar duet compositions, using guitar-family instruments of their own invention; unique, original; beautiful and haunting.
Genre: Classical: Chamber Music
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Preludium
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2. Cartesian Vector
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3. Under An Evening Sky
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4. Improfugue I
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5. Improfugue II
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6. Cordulia Aenea
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7. First Pleochroism
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8. Second Pleochroism
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9. Aeshna Cyanea
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10. Improfugue III
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11. Sympetrum
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12. Token: Time Season
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13. Postludium
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Sandor Szabo (Hungary), and Kevin Kastning (USA), are modern guitar explorers. Both have invented guitar-family instruments which never previously existed; for example, Kevin invented the 12-string Extended Baritone guitar, which can be heard in the performances on "Parallel Crossings." New England's Yankee Magazine called Kevin, "... a pioneer in modern acoustic guitar composition." Szabo & Kastning's 2007 Greydisc release, "Resonance," placed in The Perfect Sound magazine's Top 10 Albums of 2007. Sandor Szabo is an internationally known and respected acoustic multi-guitar virtuoso. On "Parallel Crossings," Sandor performs on a 12-string baritone guitar of Kevin's invention; yet employs his own unorthodox tunings. Kevin utilitzes intervallic tunings on many of the compositions of "Parallel Crossings."

The album was recorded in its entirety in a single day in a recording studio located in the peaceful New England countryside. The sound quality is of audiophile-grade; no compression, EQ, or limiting was utilized in the recording process, and the CD adheres to the rigid high audio standards set by Greydisc Records.

Here are quotes from just a few of the many worldwide magazine reviews of the duo's 2007 album "Resonance."

"The abstract expressionist painting on the cover of "Resonance" is fitting. This collection of haunting baritone guitar duets is a thrilling reminder that music is art as well as entertainment. Kastning, a Massachusetts native, is a pioneer in modern acoustic guitar composition, a world seldom visited by mainstream listeners.

In his latest offering Kastning teams up with Hungarian virtuoso Sándor Szabó to produce thirteen puzzling pieces that may be best described as acoustic soundscapes. But the staccato back-and-forth of "Resonance" can be disturbingly peaceful and inspiring for those with enough time to develop an intimate relationship with it. Listen to this disc alone while you're writing, painting, cooking, or whatever it is you consider your art, and see where it takes you."

- Yankee Magazine (USA)



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Acoustic Guitar magazine, February 2008
Resonance: Editor’s Choice (Teja Gerken, editor), Acoustic Guitar magazine, February 2008 (USA)


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"On the basis of this disc, I feel confident saying that Sándor Szabó and Kevin Kastning are both remarkable guitar players and remarkable musicians. Their disc of baritone guitar duos feels like a summit meeting of players in complete sympathy with each other, operating on the same wavelength. (...) they are meticulously planned and executed pieces, mostly tonal and contrapuntal, with some excursions to the edge of pantonality. The pieces are well-constructed, with a casual, lived-in feeling.

The recording is excellent. The sound of the guitars is clean and warm, with clear attacks and no distortion."

- Sequenza21 magazine, (USA)


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"Kevin Kastning & Sandor Szabo are both acoustic guitar players who excel in creating experimental guitar music which consists of creating musical sound escapades with deep layers. As well Kevin Kastning as Sandor Szabo received critical acclaim in the press and by the audience for their earlier released CD's. (...) There is a constant flow of emotions going on of the unconscious mind, painted in a creative and experimental setup. The opening track of “Resonance,” “Another Face of the Beauty” excels in great dynamics and at times it has a feeling of a classical and complicated composed piece of art. The music of Sandor Szabo & Kevin Kastning is very demanding for a listener, one has to be open for new experiences on processes going on in the human soul and Mother Nature's elements who try to connect with each other. Enjoy the journey!"

- Bridge Guitar Reviews, (The Netherlands)


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"This disc will most definitely not be for everyone, but those for whom it has been specifically crafted will be delighted, a set of spacious, abstract, and airy penseés on the intelligently pastelline—albeit darkly hued—virtues of two acoustic guitars joined in structured improv dependent only upon the moody cast of the entire selection's grey shadowy flavors. Many years ago, two giants, John Abercrombie and Ralph Towner, came together to create ECM's killer Sargasso Sea, and it set the standard, a highwater mark rarely attempted let alone pulled off. A lustrum beyond, they issued the return meeting, Five Years Later, to general ecstasy. Resonance is like the third meeting, this time with Towner & Abercrombie being joined by Bill Connors in his ECM heyday. That is to say: Szabo and Kastning are a good deal darker than Ralph and John had been, following Connors' Mist and Melting peregrinations. Now, it should be known that Abercrombie & Towner cannot be surpassed, that's just the set rule, but this duo has made the finest task of it to date. Very satisfying, it persistently etches itself in mercurialities, evanescence, and threnody, boasting a use of baritone guitars exclusively, hand-crafted instruments yielding rich tones and meaningful shades.

This CD is an hour-long spree of slowly shifting Dantean environments and atonal wanderings in fields close by yet far from the safe pastures of urbanity. Wild is the heather here, foggy the banks, and mysteriously does the day pass in reveries and echoing tastes. Like many such releases, it works beautifully as background chiaroscuro or closely followed fare. Either mode repays the attentions given, but it is not—and I can't stress this firmly enough—of an ilk with the New Age duets the disc might initially be mistaken for (the cover is very pleasant two-toned abstract canvas). Such things are 99% milk-blooded tomfoolery, while Resonance breathes, whispers, cajoles, sulks, and hypnotizes in an extremely literate fashion. Therefore, do not send to know for whom the muttering minor chords ring, they beckon thee."

- Acoustic Music Exchange Magazine (USA)

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Reviews


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Curmudgeousness


I elected to listen to the CD on my drive to work which I wouldn’t normally recommend for these recordings. Besides the sophistication of the music itself, the recording quality of these CD’s really demands a more pristine listening experience. Knowing I was compromising the experience, I did elect to use ambient-sound headphones. These primarily improvised guitar duets defy categorization in any popular. I am going to offer this comparison only to attempt a crude beginning point of reference. The music is kind of like a convergence of 20th century chamber music, Ralph Towner or Egberto Gismonti improvisations, and any number of ECM label soundscape artists. The instruments themselves - 6-string baritone guitar, 12-string baritone guitar, 6-string extended baritone guitar, and 12-string extended baritone guitar – and their tunings are forays into new territory. The music itself is dense and complicated but also ethereal. The recording is a superlative example of truly capturing the ambience of the acoustic instruments in a consummate final mix. This is NOT easy listening and best listened to without distraction and in pristine audio conditions. That said, many sections are really marvelous ’soundscapes’ that hold up as meditative ‘background’ music. I have actually looped a few sections for contemplative times, though I’m not sure what kind of endorsement the artists themselves might give for relegating the music that way. It’s my impression that Szabo brings a slightly detectable East-European influence to his part as Kastning brings a more chamber music sound to his side of things. There are some parts of some tracks that lean to the chamber music side with invention or fugue like motifs but they never bog down there (bog down admittedly indicating this listener’s bias). Both “Resonance” and “Parallel Crossings” CD’s are in my frequent rotation stack of CD’s. If you like music that is challenging intellectually AND spiritually provocative you should dig this.