Exposé Online banner

Kevin Kastning — Piano I
(Greydisc GDR3547, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-03-29

Piano I Cover art

Kastning has played piano on many of his albums to date, mostly on collaborations where someone is playing guitar, but for his sixth solo album, he has crafted nine pieces – over an hour’s worth – exclusively for piano. Hint: Kastning’s piano compositions sound a lot like his guitar compositions, but he’s worked the ideas out for piano instead. Drop the needle on any track and it won’t take more that a few measures to recognize that what’s being played comes from the same wellspring of ideas that his guitar albums do, with a sense of unpredictable randomness and mystery about them, but delivered in a deamy, gentle and superbly sublime way, with all the dreamy atmospherics of his guitar albums, but only with piano. Many artists take on a different persona when they switch to different instruments, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. The nine tracks are presented in five groups: “Construction 1” has parts a, b, and c, and a listener might not even notice the change between the parts unless looking at the track counter from the corner of your eye, the peaceful and idyllic emotional aura from one section continues right into the next. “Construction 2 (a, b)” and “Construction 3 (a, b)” similarly have two sections each, a similar style, but they move the spirit in slightly different ways – as a reviewer I don’t want to dissect the compositions and take the discovery and mystery away from the listener, nor could I really, but the mood of each evokes a very different feeling than the first three-part piece. As with his many guitar albums, here, the piano becomes an emotional extension of his soul, moving freely like the winds of his consciousness. The two closing opuses bear different titles: “Component Factor I” and “Element Sector I” (which I guess means part II of both may be coming on some future release). The former seems to include some ideas explored in the “Construction” parts but explored in different ways, perhaps taking a more sparse approach, while the latter seems to document an open-ended journey with numerous melodic sidetracks that never seem to bring the listener back to a starting point, which is totally okay in my book. The entire album makes for some great repeat listening.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Kevin Kastning

Latest news

2019-12-11
There's No Time Like the Present – The Belgian band Present has been one of the best avant-rock bands in the world since its formation in 1979. Over the years since then, Present has released nine amazing albums, and now they're ready to start work on number ten. They're looking for some financial help from their fans around the world. » Read more

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Red Jasper - A Midsummer Night's Dream – From the acoustic guitars and tin-whistle that open the first track, I knew this wouldn't be your standard SI neo-prog fare. Vocalist Davey Dodds picks up about a minute in, with a deep and thick...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues