Ethereal V: Reviews and Quotes

Kevin Kastning / Sandor Szabo / Balazs Major - 2022 - "Ethereal V"



"The latest in Kevin’s ‘Ethereal’ series finds him on 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar and 15-string Extended Classical guitar, and he has been joined here by Sandor Szabo (Orchestrations) and percussionist Balazs Major. Often, Kevin’s works are fully improvised as he bounces ideas with like-minded musicians, but I am not sure that this the case this time as the release sounds more like a modern classical piece of music as opposed to his normal approach. There is undoubtedly a huge amount of atmosphere being captured within these notes and I have been a fan of Kevin’s approach for years now, as each release does something quite different and takes us into new territories and that is very much the same again here. Given it is not unusual for Kevin to be playing a 36-string guitar, here he has kept the numbers down, but there are very few musicians who would attempt to play these instruments, not at least if they wanted to stay musical as opposed to just getting some sounds. This is music to make us think, to be listened to intently, and definitely needs to be played on headphones when one has the time to do just that. Four of the songs are relatively short (at least in Kevin’s terms) at 6-7 minutes, but it opens with the first segment which is more than 21 minutes and allows all three musicians to come in and out as the music swells and fades. It is quite important to note the cover photography as I can certainly imagine this being celestial music of the stars. Kevin has now released more than 40 albums in various different musical combinations, and I have heard all he has released in the last few years, each one being a delight, and this is no different.

- Progressor Magazine (Uzbekistan)
  March 2023



Ethereal V
Kevin Kastning, Sándor Szabó, Balázs Major


"Travelling through the worlds of jazz, new age, ambient, and modern classical this fifth album in Kevin Kastning’s Ethereal series is filled with lush orchestrations and unusual guitar voicings. Over the years Kastning has works with various solo and chamber group instrumentations and recorded a variety of albums with guitarist Alex de Grassi, bassist Michael Manring, and others. Also, Kastning has collaborated with Alistair Hay of Emerald Guitars inventing and building the 36-string Double Contraguitar. This double neck instrument consists of two 18-string Contraguitars used in two different tunings. It provides an extended range and an unusual harmonic palette and has become one of Kastning's main instruments for both concerts and recordings.

Otherworld, Kevin's 2015 solo album, was the No.1 album in the world on the iTunes Classical charts in September 2015. As a revered guitarist and celebrated acoustic guitar wizard Kastning continues expanding as a guitar phenomenon.

Ethereal V is a relaxing ambient release that intrigues the senses with its non-pattern based passages. It is a perfect album for juicing one’s creativity as it goes to unusual places in a very pleasurable fashion. There are moments that remind me of Frippertronics, and others that delve into the mysterious side dipping a tow into the Avant Garde. The combination of his special acoustic guitar and elongated rolling tones opens this music into a free form world that takes one to alternate universes."

- Mediaversal (US)
  January 2022

Kevin Kastning, Balazs Major, Sándor Szabó: Ethereal V (Greydisc Records, 2022)

Curiously, five pieces make up Ethereal V, "it seems obvious", the first of them of long duration with more than 21 minutes and the rest of medium extension.

This Ethereal series is preceded by four albums numbered from I to IV. We find opening Ethereal V, "First Ethereal": play of shadows and lights of romantic development and ghostly sounds whose minimalist structures give it an air of chamber orchestration, not exempt from echoes and intimate reverberations that seem to come from a parallel world.

"Second Etherea": with characteristics related to the first of the chapters of this conceptual work but focusing more on the sound and ethereal drama, as light as the flight of a veil.

"Third Etherea" and "Fourth Ethereal": of weightless atmospheres, of vaporous space travel. The mysterious and calm tension of the intangible and abstract realities; orchestra of ambient gothic spirits and some psychological fear.

"Fifth Ethereal": as a journey to the center of the brain, adventurous syncopated textures of experimentation and improvisation in the memory of Ralph Towner.

- El Escribe de Jazz (SPAIN)
  April 2022


Ethereal V; Kevin Kastning; 2022 Greydisc

When the standard guitar has limited his musical expression, Kevin Kastning has invented his own instruments to extend the pitch range of the guitar. For Ethereal V, he plays the 15-string and 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar accompanied by percussionist Balazs Major with orchestrations from Sandor Szabo. This is the fifth chapter of Kevin’s Ethereal series and it furthers their expression of galactic improvisation. At times it is like a mystery movie soundtrack, an introspective piece that is suitable for meditation.


- O's Place Jazz Magazine (US)
  April 2022














© 2022 Greydisc Records / Suigeneria Music [BMI]