Ethereal IV: Liner Notes

Sandor Szabo:

My name became known as an acoustic guitar player and only a few people knows that I also play electric guitars mostly for recordings but sometimes on special concerts since the beginning. In 1997, I started the Echolocation album series, which now is in its 9th edition. We started the Ethereal album series with Kevin in 2018. On both series I play and record electric guitars seeking and introducing unusual new possibilities in sound. Before the recording sessions I just finished a successful acoustic guitar tour with international artists. I was filled up with a lot of experiences but to be honest I was a little afraid of how I will be able to adopt to a merely different situation which was basically playing and recording electric guitars without any practicing. My thought was to prepare myself mentally. It was a challenge to empty my mind from all the music I played on the tour. In such a situation the circumstances, the vibe, the mood, the sound of the recording place are always critically important. At the sound check for the recording sessions, I felt that all will be OK. I played instinctively following my actual intuitions. After the recording sessions when I listened to the recording I hardly recognized my playing which was a positive feeling because I wanted to play and sound in a different way than anybody else or just myself ever before. My partner Balázs Major also played in a different way as he used to. He was experimenting with a dozen different special cymbals and he created never-heard atmospheres. This recording was the first for all of us to try a never-heard setup of instrument. To hear Kevin’s 30-string guitar, Balázs’s hand percussion and cymbal combinations together with my processed baritone electric guitar was a great playing experience. We could also enjoy the great guitar player and recording engineer Roland Heidrich’s supporting presence and helpful ideas. This recording session was also an opportunity for me to try my newly developed harmonizer algorithms which provided me to create that ethereal sound which is so characteristic of the Ethereal series.

Kevin Kastning:

The days of May 15 and 16 2018 are dates that will forever live in my memory with a smile. Sandor and I had finished our 2018 European Tour on May 14. Then we had two days booked for recording sessions at the Kismarosi Muvelodési Ház Concert Hall in Kismaros, Hungary. We had performed a concert there for a sold-out crowd just two weeks before the recording dates. It is a comfortable mid-sized concert hall with lovely acoustics and an easy vibe and atmosphere. The hall is located in the beautiful town of Kismaros not far from the Danube river. On that bright spring morning, Sandor and I were met at the concert hall by master percussionist Balazs Major and our friend Roland Heidrich. Roland is a fine guitarist in his own right, as well as a fantastic recording engineer. Roland had engineered on-location album recording dates for us in the past, and I knew we were in good hands once again. The morning of May 15 saw Balazs and I record the pieces for our 2019 Greydisc album "Kismaros," which was named in honor of the town where it was recorded. After breaking for lunch at a nearby cafe by the train station, we walked back to the concert hall for trio sessions. For the trio recording sessions, Sandor had set up his guzheng, esraj, an electric guitar, electric baritone guitar; along with various outboard signal processing equipment. Balazs had his vast hand percussion arsenal and about a dozen cymbals. He would swap out different cymbals for different pieces; thus matching them to the compositions. I usually tour with only one instrument; for this tour, I had selected the Emerald Kevin Kastning Signature Series 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, and that was the instrument I had with me for the recording sessions. That afternoon was industrious, as we recorded material for two trio albums; the first of which is "Ethereal IV." With the new albums that we recorded that day, I believe this trio crossed a new level of composition and performance. The intricacies of these pieces and the varied instrumental textures take the possibilities of a trio to a new place. My sincerest gratitude to my brothers Sandor and Balazs.










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