Sándor Szabó & Kevin Kastning — Parabola
(Greydisc GDR-3505, 2009, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01Like the previous Szabó/Kastning duets, Parabola consists of improvisations utilizing different kinds of acoustic guitar other than the standard variety – 6- and 12- string baritones and altos in this case. The tunings and stringings are also non-standard, leaving little in common with typical guitar music aside from the lovely tone of well-made instruments; similarly the music sits outside of standard genres, not really jazz, folk, rock or academic. While it seems apparent that some planning went into it – perhaps even unintentionally, as musicians will instinctively remember things they've played that worked – the overall impression is of flowing spontaneity, wandering among imaginary realms of sound. Sometimes a tonal center or shared pulse will coalesce out of the interplay, but that doesn't seem to be a deliberate intention. These two players, by some chance of genetics or cosmic fate, are on wavelengths so close to each other that you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. I'm sure that when they listen to these recordings, they can recognize what was theirs and what was not, but an outsider has no way to distinguish. I'm reminded a little of the duets Larry Coryell and Philip Catherine did so long ago, but these are a lot freer, lacking established tunes as a baseline. Atonal music is often abrasive and inaccessible, but in the hands of these two masters, there seems little distinction between tonality and atonality. Even listeners unaccustomed to free improvisation might well find this quite enjoyable.
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more