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Kevin Kastning & Mark Wingfield — Rubicon II
(Greydisc GDR3585, 2024, DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2024-05-18

Rubicon II Cover art

Borne of the same sessions that begat Rubicon I in August 2018 (released in March 2021), listeners will finally get a chance to hear the rest of  the music that went down between these two master performers at that time. The six tracks at hand seem to be extended spontaneous compositions, or improvisations if you prefer, though one might suspect a heightened degree of telepathy to be in play throughout, as it seems like one player is always anticipating the next move of the other as they dodge and weave through each of these pieces. For his part, Mark Wingfield plays six-string electric guitar with plenty of effects, looping, and live electronics, while Kastning plays either his fifteen-string extended classical guitar or piano. Like a listener who is familiar with either of these guys might expect, every piece is an adventure, with complete surprises coming at the listener eveery time a new corner is turned. Regardless of whether Kastning is playing his classical or piano, the followthrough with Wingfield is seamless, almost magical, though never what would be expected — it’s a manner of music that a listener needs to learn to appreciate through repeated spins; the notes of the instruments dance around one another with complete freedom, responding only to one another in the moment, with little or no repetition, and no real cadence either, but it absolutely works. On “Tidal Radius Thermalized,” one of the album’s longer pieces at close to seventeen minutes, the piano builds a colorful and ever changing structure over which electric guitar soars and changes like the wind with ever fluid beauty, while “Particle Apparent” takes a more gentle approach, with the two guitars engaging in something of a conversation, the acoustic versus the ever elastic electric. And would you look at that beautiful cover art by George Koronov, it almost looks like side views of two abstract faces superimposed, though it’s more likely an aerial view of snow covered trees on an island. Like anything that Kastning and Wingfield are involved with, Rubicon II is a wonderful treat for the ears.

Filed under: New releases, 2024 releases

Related artist(s): Kevin Kastning, Mark Wingfield

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