Ethereal VI
:: Reviews and Quotes

Kevin Kastning and Sandor Szabo - Ethereal VI

Continuing in the ambient realm, Ethereal VI is the latest addition to the mesmerizing series of Ethereal albums from Kevin Kastning and Sandor Szabo. This sixth installment transports listeners into a world of enchanting soundscapes, featuring a harmonious blend of lush atmospheres, captivatingly unique guitar tones, and innovative compositions.

Sándor Szabó and Kevin Kastning, both distinguished musicians, embarked on a musical journey that led them to create this ethereal masterpiece. Kevin Kastning, an accomplished artist, honed his skills at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and he had the privilege of receiving private tutelage from none other than guitar virtuoso Pat Metheny. Kevin Kastning, renowned for his 28-string Double Contraguitar, 15-string Baritone guitar, and 12-string Baritone guitar mastery, has a prolific career marked by the creation of over 300 compositions, spanning solo performances to chamber group arrangements.

Throughout his career, Kevin Kastning has collaborated with an array of musical luminaries, including Alex de Grassi, Michael Manring, Mark Wingfield, Carl Clements, Sandor Szabo, and many others. Notably, Kevin's innovative spirit led him to devise groundbreaking instruments such as the 17-string hybrid extended classical guitar and the 15-string extended classical guitar. With an extensive discography boasting over 40 albums, Kevin's musical legacy resonates far and wide. Currently residing in the serene landscapes of Maine, USA, Kevin continues to enchant and captivate audiences with his soul-stirring compositions and unparalleled artistry.

Through free form development, the nine pieces on Ethereal VI take listeners on exploratory journeys that feel much like droplets floating into one’s mind. Occasional rhythms spike, and melody goes on to take form, yet more often the music floats in a spacious embrace of conscious sparks that interplay between Kastning and Szabo.

The depth of tones and brilliance of texture grace this recording, allowing one to easily fall into a meditative state where imagination takes hold as the unusual guitar voices permeate through the listening room.

- Mediaversal Music (US)
  September 2023


Kevin Kastning & Sandor Szabo - 2023 - Ethereal VI

(56:30; Greydisc)

"As can be gathered from the title, what we have here is the next chapter in the Ethereal series; an amalgam of unique acoustic guitar-family instruments, electric baritone guitar, and compositional atmospherics. Here Kevin Kastning provides 28-string Double Contraguitar, 15-string Baritone guitar, and 12-string Baritone guitar while Sandor Szabo is on electric guitars and live processing. Normally, we find Kevin producing an album in a day as he bounces ideas with another like-minded musician, but this one actually took three months to complete which is an age for him. The last album in the Ethereal series had Kevin playing different guitars to these, while he was joined by Balázs Major on percussion while Szabo provided orchestrations so although this is very much a continuation there is a difference in the approach this time. There is a layering of instruments in a way which is both experimental and modern classical. I am always incredibly impressed by Kevin’s work as he is so unlike anyone else I have come across, both in terms of the instruments being utilised and his approach to sound. I always find his releases incredibly compelling although I do recognise there will be many who do not feel the same as his music is certainly quite different to the norm. However, there is something deep hidden within this and by playing it on headphones the beauty of the cosmos is gradually made visible to the listener. This is not music to be played when thinking about something else, as one just needs to listen to the sounds, the interaction of the strings, and fall into something resembling a meditative state with the two musicians constantly finding new ways to interact. Yet again Kevin has produced a release which is quite compelling, and I look forward with great interest to see what he comes up with next."

- Progressor Magazine (UZBEKISTAN)
  October 2023



"Ethereal VI took me on a different journey, interstellar, transcendent, cosmic as I followed your dancing strings across the galaxy. It was pleasing without being sickly sweet, again questioning the norms of the genre while exploring the other edges."

- Madi Das (US)




"Ethereal VI is another masterwork from the far reaches of the experimental music universe!  I find Movements One and Two especially compelling, perhaps as a template for the sort of thing you and I might try together, given their rhythmic richness. Overall, I find the sequence of relatively shorter forms engaging as an album of songs."

- Will Clipman (US)
   7-time Grammy nominated percussionist








© 2023 Greydisc Records / Suigeneria Music [BMI]