Levitation I :: Reviews and Quotes
Kevin Kastning and Laszlo Gardony: Levitation I (2022)
US musicians Kevin Kastning and Laszlo Gardony released the album "Levitation I" back in the summer of 2022, and this is an album that might be of interest also to fans of progressive rock. The style that is explored here is one that falls between a number of different cracks, albeit without progressive rock being one of them, but classical music, jazz and avant music traditions are all a part of the experience here. Possibly with improvisation as a factor at hand too. The compositions here are minimalist improvised sounding affairs with a 36 string double contraguitar and the piano as the sole instruments, and the landscapes explored tend to alternate between and combine unnerving delicate fragmented sounds of the kind that would function really well as a horror movie soundtrack, deconstructed fragmented classical music runs and jazz-oriented escapades with experimental and avant sensibilities. While minimalist in orientation most of the time this isn't music that is an easy listen, and while often bare bones in execution this isn't music that is easy to perform either. Careful hands and fingers and a sure but subtle touch is required to create these soundscapes, and I would imagine that many musicians in particular will find it quite rewarding to give this album a listen. Outside of that environment, those with a general interest in improvised sounding blends of experimental and minimalist jazz and classical music with a bit of an avant delicate swagger should find this to be quite the enjoyable production to become familiar with.
- Progressor Magazine (Uzbekistan)
I can hardly believe this is the fourteenth review I’ve written for one Kevin Kastning, inventor of his patented 36 string Double Contraguitar. For the first time he has paired up with Hungarian world class pianist Laszlo Gardony, and the result is Levitation I.
Like all of Kastning’s material, the new album explores textures and sounds with both subtlety and a certain amount of minimalism. The delicate piano and guitar lines weaving avant-garde tapestries, as well as being more forceful at times, hitting the notes with more urgency. These differences in mood offer quite a diversity in sonics, and this is certainly more effective listening through a good set of headphones.
As with Kastning’s other albums I have reviewed, discussing individual tracks would not be prudent, or helpful, at least in my opinion. This is an album that must be listened to in its totality, from beginning to end, at least that is how I benefitted most from hearing it.
Levitation I is another creative and abstract effort from Kastning, this time paired with Gardony, who proves to be a wonderful pianist. This will not be for everyone and will likely not garner many new fans, but those who like to explore music and soundscapes outside the conventional norms, Levitation I should be on your ‘need to explore’ list.
A Greydisc Records release.
1. Levitation Opus I (7:50)
2. Levitation Opus II (6:34)
3. Levitation Opus III (7:30)
4. Levitation Opus IV (10:50)
5. Levitation Opus V (5:47)
6. Levitation Opus VI (11:22)
Sea of Tranquility (US)
Kevin Kastning & Laszlo Gardony
Review by Gary Hill
This is an intriguing release. It's an instrumental set featuring piano (Laszlo Gardony) and 36-String Double Contraguitar (Kevin Kastning). This is not progressive rock in any traditional sense. It is, however, experimental, artistic music that runs along a line that has jazz, classical and soundtrack music at its heart. It's not for everyone, but it is unique. This isn't the kind of stuff that lends itself to individual track reviews, but I've done my best attempt at it.
This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022 Volume 6. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.
Track by Track Review
Levitation Opus I
Intriguing piano work brings this into being. It has a classical meets freeform jazz and soundtrack vibe to it. Guitar joins as this drives into even more experimental free-form zones.
Levitation Opus II
Less "out there," this is no less interesting. This is also nowhere near mainstream. It's very classy stuff. This is more melodic than the opener. It's fairly mellow, but also more song-like.
Levitation Opus III
I really love some of the piano on this track. The number is more experimental. It also has some world music built into it.
Levitation Opus IV
Very freeform in nature, there is plenty of classical music angle here. Yet, there is a lot more, too. This gets pretty crazed and involved before it's over. Still, it also has respites.
Levitation Opus V
As this gets underway with piano, it seems to me that the open space is every bit as integral as the notes are. This grows and evolves pretty heavily as it drives forward. It does get pretty fiery before it's over.
Levitation Opus VI
Coming in fiery with almost clashing lines of sound, this is the most bombastic piece here. It's all relative, as this would be a mellower number on many albums. It reminds me in some ways of early King Crimson. It shifts into more classical meets freeform jazz zones further down the road. It gets quite frantic and has some really dramatic moments.
Music Street Journal (US)
"Closing (the show) with the duo formed by Kevin Kastning and Laszlo Gardony, and a preview of their work entitled "Levitation I", a sound experience from a piano and a double contraguitar of 36 strings."
Gigantes Gentiles radio program; Radio La Hormiga 104.3 FM
"On today's program, I'm happy to open with new music from a long-time friend of PTE, guitarist Kevin Kastning in tandem with pianist, Laszlo Gardony from their new release of improvisations, "Levitation I." "
Pushing the Envelope radio
US; June 2022
"Levitation I" Kastning / Gardony — Spontaneous Creation for the Pleasure of
Cover art by George Korunov (RUSSIA)
"Then the writing became so fluid that I sometimes felt as if I were
writing for the sheer pleasure of telling a story, which may be
the human condition that most resembles levitation."
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"I believe this album is the best example of an evolving new musical form of composition. After years of adherence to the written page, Classical music has begun to return to its improvisational roots. Kevin Kastning has embraced that return tenaciously for more than a decade with spontaneous duets and solo performances that transport me consistently to a deeper experience of music. This Levitation 1 pairing with master musician Laszlo Gardony on piano and Kevin Kastning on 36-string contra guitar has exceeded all expectations. If collaborative Classical composition needed a "proof of life," this album leaves no room for doubt. This revitalized form of Classical music is very much alive and well.
This music was improvised simultaneous and effortlessly by these two artists for the shear pleasure of song, which may be the human condition that most resembles levitation. This album need not be explained to be loved. It is not necessary to know that these artists are improvising to enjoy this music at all. This is the album of new music that could be sent to my working class and sainted Mother and expect she would hear the beauty and feel the love in this music. This album is, in short, a miracle. In Levitation 1, these two musicians improvise out of whole cloth so perfectly joined in song that they might just as well be playing from memory, or reading the notes from a carefully composed page of written music. This music is most certainly transcendent."
"Maybe it is better to hope that music may always be
transcendental language in the most extravagant sense."
"In addition to the shear quality of the transformation of two musicians into one music, which I have heard increasingly in Kastning's albums to great success, is the unique pairing possible because of the range of these two instruments. There are moments when Gardony seems to play a cloud over which Kastning can fly on those 36 strings. Kastning with the range and timbre of his unique instrument paints a drop curtain adding texture and context for Gardony's invention. The trading back and forth is so seamless as to be one voice to my ears. I find I am no longer concerned with the music at all, but instead I am transported to a lofty place where my own life can be reimagined in context of the infinite. Yeah boy, howdy!
What makes all this possible is an understanding of the nature and mindset of improvisation that has long been articulated by Laszlo Gardony in his teaching and interviews, and by Kevin Kastning as I have come to know him through the past decade. Neither one of these artists are "creating" the music as it happens in the sense of owning the notes and expressing themselves. That would be a competition of sorts, and it couldn't sound like this. Instead, both artists are playing the music that is gifted to them and they are both staying the hell out of the way while playing the music they hear from the Source. As nutty as that sounds, it is the only way to play together so completely. Neither one is taking the lead or supporting the other in a conscious way. As Laszlo Gardony said in answer to my question about what he is thinking while improvising (Interview):"
"No. I was one with each note. I was each note."
I believe that if you go to a concert and you leave impressed, you should get your money back. That's not why anybody goes to see music. You oughta get a song, and sometimes a new way of seeing the world. I have shared my personal journey while listening to this album below, and you may take note that there is very little claptrap about what the musicians are doing. You might think what I am writing below is irrelevant to the album I am reviewing, and you might be right. I didn't write it for anyone's benefit but my own, but I noticed that the album had taken me to the sea of music, where an overwhelming experience of the DNA of sound was there for me to experience. And after the music was over, my own world with all its aches and pains and little details and problems looks very different. I wasn't impressed. I was transformed.
At this point, the reader is invited to stop now and rush over to the music, or journey forward and read some more. My writing is always a trick to see if I can confuse the reader into listening to the album. If I don't send you to the music, my writing has failed."
"The following writing was improvised while listening to Levitation I without a thought for publication. This is where the music took me. I shared it on Messenger, and it seemed to fit. So here it is. A good album of new music will let the listener explore the process of music in new ways. A great album of new music will transport the listener to heaven."
"If listeners aren't carried away to Heaven, I'm failing."
—La Monte Young
Here is the "fantasy" review:
"I am listening to Levitation I. There is a sea of music. This sea is the source of music. There are streams in the water of pure colors and there are bubbles of many sizes. I have thought of this water as the source of music, but as I see it now the water seems to object. A voice in my head seems to feel slighted by that label. I hear the interjection, “Labels!” The voice says it as dirty word. This is music all by itself and it is beautiful. If this is the DNA of music, then what it music? What I see and feel here, and certainly all my ears can hear, is beautiful. I don’t want to speak at the banks of this sea. There is too much beauty here always and nothing that can be improved by commentary or category or any such simplification.
I watch two great musicians seeming to float over the waters with colorful lights and other sights swirling around them. I can see that all they hear inside themselves can be seen hear, and as they approach each other the clouds of lights and colored shapes reach out to each other. I am watching a temporary melding of musics into a greater whole. Their bodies dance above the water, and they dive below. When one of them separates, the sound of loneliness and isolation fills the air above the water, and when they come together the musics play together as puppies, or clouds, or children, or dancing lights and colorful clouds.
I do my best to find the category to fit this beauty, but I have no word for this. So soon I find the two voices become a multitude that I hear as just one. That snippy voice in my head whispers its wisdom: “Relax. It’s just music.” Somehow this statement makes me want to cry. It is as though I had never relaxed before. I am not making a sound, but somehow I become part of the music. The voice says, “Yes!” And I realize that I am part of all the music I have ever heard, and all the music in the world has only ever been inside me! All I hear, and all I feel, and the voice in my head, and the swirling lights and colorful streams glowing in the sea, and the glowing mist are all Music and they are mine.
For a moment, I am suspended between these master musicians. I can feel the sound all around me. It is ALL emotional, EVERY note, all silence harmony, cadence, cascade, and every sound surround me. I feel the music, and what I feel IS the music. In my thoughts, I ask the musicians how they know what to play, and they just smile. The answer comes to me that the music is written in the lights and water and mist and ice and streams in this sea of discovery. For a laugh, each musician points to the other one and they both laugh. That is a joke because it isn’t true. Neither of them is leading. Both are following. Both are “reading” the music in everything all at once.
And I feel so much love. I feel loved. I am the very center of this experience, and the musicians treat me with the greatest respect. I feel that I am somehow the most important part of this whole experience. I am so moved by this. I am not used to being treated this way. All my emotions are treated with respect. All I feel is respected and it somehow becomes part of the Music. No, that’s not quite right. Everything I feel IS the music.
I very wise cloud of sound winks at me at this point and I get wisdom somehow silently spoken inside me: “The Listener is all is where the music goes. The only music you hear is in the quality of your own listening.” Wow! I am loved! I realize that I don’t know how to feel this much of Music for long. I resolve to learn to listen more. The cloud says, “No learning. Just let go! Learn to forget all that. The Music is enough.” I see that my Master Musicians have become the notes and nothing more and they are alive in me and they have always been there.
When I have been at the Sea of Music long enough, it is time to step away, but I am not the same person anymore. I am the keeper of the Music. I have become “The Listener.” My soul expands. Music has become my words for all the indescribable things. For the first time, I know for certain that there are indescribable things in me that matter. I can’t say what they are, but I know they are a better part of me.
I always feel good after listening to Levitation 1. I feel closer to who I am. I am become a cloud of meaningful experience, wisdom and love that is the very source of me in this world. You only see a part of me. I had forgotten there was a part of me that is only mine to see, and hear, and know. My day goes better. I can choose differently. I have become a cloud in trousers."
-Billy's Music Without Borders (MEXICO)
by Kevin Kastning & Laszlo Gardony
Release date: June 28, 2022
by Zachary Nathanson | August 6, 2022 |
"Laszlo Gardony is a Hungarian-American composer who is considered one of the most incredible pianists in the jazz community. He has released 13 studio albums from 1988’s The Secret to his upcoming 14th release with drummer Yoron Israel and bassist John Lockwood this coming December called, Close Connection.
He’s won the greatest jazz piano competition and championed by the late, great Dave Brubeck. Not only that but a professor and teacher from Berklee College of Music and Harvard University’s Jazz Combo Initiative, Gardony is like a breath of fresh air when it comes to recording, composing, teaching, and staying true to his life in music.
His collaboration with Kevin Kastning makes it a combination on their first time together with Levitation I. This 6-part suite creates true mystery, cavernous structures, and eerie qualities to have something crept up your spine.
Recorded at The Studio in Portland, Maine on August 20, 2021, Kastning and Gardony have brought in the tremors to add the sacred touches by being creative and taking over the entire ship. When you put Levitation I on, you get a sense on what was going on during the two-year ride during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are moments where Kastning uses his instrument to go from Steve Howe’s arrangements on Yes’ Close to the Edge to King Crimson’s Larks Tongues-era, you get a sense of this cat-and-mouse chase that the duo would go by going from corner of the house to another. And it’s quite a hay-wiring affect at times.
But what Kastning and Gardony do is adding more hot temperatures rising during the alarm sequences that have a climatic twist. You can hear elements of Stravinsky, Ligeti, excerpts of Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, and Keith Tippett’s Blueprint-era.
I felt some tugs of a lost recording session that could’ve been made in 1998 in a parallel universe where the duo were offered the job to write the music for Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 swan-song and often misunderstood gem, Eyes Wide Shut. And you can imagine that this was an offer they couldn’t refuse.
Kevin’s music may not be everyone’s cup of tea per se, but it’s always a challenge when he puts out a new release on the Greydisc label. Whether its collaborating with Mark Wingfield, Balazs Major, Carl Clements, or Sandor Szabo, he always wants to go as far as he can go.
With Levitation I, he has finally reached the mountain top and showing where the next adventure he and Laszlo will come in another chapter of their stories together."
- Echoes and Dust (US)
Kevin Kastning & Laszlo Gardony: Levitation I (2022)
by Kev Rowland
"On Kevin Kastning’s latest release we find him on his favoured 36-string Double Contraguitar, and he has been joined this time by Internationally acclaimed Boston-based jazz pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony who is Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music and also teaches at Harvard University’s Jazz Combo Initiative. I think this is the first time I have heard Kevin working with a pianist, and he has found a perfect foil in Laszlo who is very much in tune with the guitarist, as they inspire each other to create something which can be as delicate as raindrops or as powerful as a storm.
Recorded in a single day in a Maine summer last year, the six pieces have been culled from the improvisation which took place in the studio that day, and given the name of the album I am sure there is more to follow. I have always found Kevin’s guitarwork to be fascinating due not only to the breadth of sounds at his disposal, but also in the way he brings them to life. This is not someone randomly picking at 36 strings to create something which may or may not be musical, but an artist who knows exactly what he wants to achieve and has the skills to do just that. Gardony is also not one to sit back, and while he can create swathes of sounds for Kastning to pitch against, he is also more than prepared to take the lead, adding flourishes here and there as he challenges the other to respond in kind. As with many of Kastning’s works, it is the second playthrough where the beauty really begins to shine, as it takes a while to reset the brain and get inside the head of the players, but once in tune this is an album which is an absolute delight.
I have heard quite a few of Kastning’s albums in recent years, and this is probably the most enjoyable to date as not only is it highly musical, but there is plenty of space while the two musicians often seem almost as one, as if this had been highly scored as opposed to coming out of the ether. If you have yet to hear music from either, then this is a great place to start."
- House of Prog Magazine/Radio (ENGLAND)
Kevin Kastning / Laszlo Gardony — Levitation I
(Greydisc GDR 3568, 2022, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-07-18
"Laszlo Gardony is a Hungarian-born American jazz pianist who performs solo as well as with his jazz trio. After graduating from the Béla Bartók Conservatory in Budapest in 1979, he moved to the United States in the early 80s with a scholarship to study at Berklee College in Boston, and he was the first student in that school's history to be offered a teaching position immediately upon graduation. Kevin Kastning is also a Berklee grad, and a former private guitar student of the legendary Pat Metheny; he has composed hundreds of pieces for various solo and chamber groupings, and may be best known for performances on his numerous exotic custom designed guitars, as well as over forty album releases, both solo and in collaboration with other like-minded travelers.
Levitation I represents the first collaboration between Kastning (on 36-string double contra-guitar) and Gardony (on piano), hopefully the first of many. The six pieces at hand, simply titled “Levitation Opus I to VI,” are pure collaborations between the two, from the compositions right out to the final recorded performances. For those already familiar with Kastning’s previous solo and collaborative works, you have a head start on what to expect here — a gentle, soft and dreamy acoustic approach that wanders through numerous portals as the two players contribute to the sum in real time, often sounding something like an improvisation, but in reality the results are too perfect and polished to not be composed. Each of the six pieces, ranging from six minutes to over eleven, take the listener on an intimate journey, wandering through mysterious landscapes, from curious mathematical elements to flourishes of pure sonic beauty; sometimes the piano leads the way, at other times it’s the guitar, and often the two coexist in a perfect balancing act. While Gardony’s piano stylings here incorporate elements of jazz and classical, and Kastning’s style could be informed more by chamber and avant-garde, the combination of the two gives the listener something that is well beyond any convenient classification, something truly unique."
Exposé Magazine (US)
Kevin Kastning & Laszlo Gardony: Levitation I (2022)
"Over the past years, I have written several times on our
website about the projects of the American guitarist, composer and designer of
new types of guitars Kevin Kastning, which allows us to notice some patterns.
Obviously, Kevin loves chamber formats - trios, and even more - duets. Jokingly,
we can say that he also loves to work with the Hungarians: his frequent partner
is guitarist Sandor Sabo, and there is also drummer Balázs Mayor. And if we talk
about the new album Levitation I, then in some ways it is traditional,
but on the other hand, this has never been seen in the work of Kevin Kastning.
The format is traditional here - this is again a duet, the partner is traditional - although he has long been an American, he was still born in Hungary. But the duet with the pianist Kastning plays for the first time in his practice. However, let's leave the floor to him (this is a quote from the liner notes for the album): “For many years I dreamed of a duet album project with a pianist. For many years I listened to pianist after pianist and never found anyone with whom such a partnership could work. At times I wondered if I was looking in vain and that the pianist I was looking for simply didn't exist. And then one day, in 2021, I listened to one of Laszlo's solo albums, and then his other works. I contacted him and asked if he would like to do a joint project, to which he agreed." Well, it's time to finally introduce Kevin's new partner.
Laszlo Gardony began his career as a pianist in his homeland, where he graduated from the Béla Bartók Conservatory (and at the same time, by the way, the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at the University of Budapest). Excellent in a variety of styles, from blues to post-bop, he performed at various festivals, for example, with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers or with Abdullah Ibrahim. In 1983, with a scholarship to Berklee, he continued his jazz career in the United States. Here, Laszlo released his first album already in 1988, and in the future his career was on the rise. Gardony has won a jazz pianist competition, his solo albums have been praised by the stern critics at DownBeat, and at Berklee he now teaches the art of playing the piano.
Kevin and Laszlo conceived a two-album series, which is why Levitation also bears the designation 1, hinting at a sequel. Six joint compositions made up the program of this album, where Laszlo played the piano, and Kevin played the 36-string counter-guitar of his own invention. Stylistically, the music of the album fits into the usual for Kastning field between ambient and academic music, but I would call this album multi-level: it all depends on the level of perception. For some, the music of Levitation I may seem like just background music, but with a closer listening, you will feel how deep the level of creativity both masters demonstrate, how interesting their ideas are, and how flawlessly they are embodied. Levitation, as you know, is floating in the air, overcoming gravity without the use of technical means. Fiction? Strictly scientific, it seems to be so. But at times it seemed to me that the sound of the album helps the duo really soar above everything earthly, that the musicians become like Herman Hesse's bead players from Castalia. At the same time, Levitation I is a duet of equals, there is no leader and follower, the partners are worth each other. Having played with a pianist for the first time, Kevin Kastning, in my opinion, recorded the best of his duet projects."
Quad Magazine (RUSSIA)
"Levitation I has become my morning music. It starts my
day off open to the unexpected magic and humanity in every breath. This
collaboration is a forging together of two distinct languages with subtle tonal
variations and tendencies combined into one new voice — and that voice is chock
full of hope and humanity. This is not an oil and water combination. This
metamorphosis of two into one reminds me of the title of Raymond Carver’s book
of poems: “Where Water Comes Together with Other Water.” There is melody
everywhere in this doubly improvised ascension. I am quite sure neither of these
artists are creating these songs, but rather both composers are following the
song as it is revealed to each. Same as it ever was. I hear a line of Theodore
Roethke’s “The Waking: “Learn by going where I need to go.” I feel this album as
a duet between precise, sparse and practical magic, as though the meticulous
language of Raymond Carver and the hothouse flowers of Theodore Roethke’s deeply
moving praise for life had been pranked into metamorphosis by impish Ovid into
the story we all need to hear right now around a camp fire. If asked for a
comparison of these artists, I would say they can be compared to sparse Raymond
Carver and transcendent Theodore Roethke combined and reborn by mischievous Ovid
into temporary song. Since those three have yet to put out an album of their
own, I can recommend Levitation I as the next best thing.
I love this album. I think the combination is amazing. Gardony may hem Kastning in a bit, in that he may have a greater tendency to keep hold onto a key signature more than Kastning might unfettered, but that tension is glorious.
There is a little bit of a Lennon and McCartney type struggle. “It’s getting better all the time.” It’s just wonderful. Of course, I don’t give a damn what is intended, and as with Kastning's other work, there is little time for intention to raise its ugly little head. Something new is created in this collaboration and it isn’t under control at all. Damn fine album!
I fantasize that both artists were experiencing the album as it happened much as I am feeling when I listen to it. Kastning must have had an underlying joy in the discovery that this music had taken over and didn’t need any help along the way! A good collaboration commandeers intension into an uncontrollable metamorphosis. I love describing that. The power of Kevin Kastning’s music is that it can be moving, dazzling, and entertaining while calling into question everything I had known about the source of creativity and moment-to-moment experience of creation itself.
Here’s a revelation: The silence after Levitation I is poignant and electric with possibilities. That bird singing over there, the backfire of a truck on the highway, the subtle sound of wind through the trees, all sound and silence, at this moment support the soloist of that Magpie nearby. I dare say I would not have heard or understood this natural and man-made symphony unaided by the music that came before."
- Billy's Music Without Borders webzine (MEXICO)
KEVIN KASTNING-LASZLO GARDONY/Levitation I:
"The flavor we get from Kastning this time out is his first face off with pianist Gardony in which they redefine the ECM cool school sound. With a strong classical/improv feel, these two masters of their crafts are on the money throughout---as usual. Deep listening that will pay dividends and rewards."
Record Magazine (US)
Title - Levitation I
Artist - Kevin Kastning / Laszlo Gardony
"For those not in the know, Greydisc Records have just released the new album from Kevin Kastning and Laszlo Gardony entitled Levitation I.
Furthermore, this is the first of a two-album series. This blend of instruments provides a unique palette for the six new compositions on this record; in fact, it is the first time 36-string Double Contraguitar has been paired with Piano.
Kevin Kastning is an American guitarist, composer and musical instrument inventor who along with playing the aforementioned 36-string Double Contraguitar, also plays the 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar, 15-string Extended Classical guitar, twelve-string guitar, six-string guitar, fretless guitar, 12-string extended baritone guitar, 6-string bass-baritone guitar, alto guitar, the 14-string Contraguitar, the 16-string Contraguitar, the 17-string Contraguitar, 12-string soprano guitar, mandolin, piano, and, phew ... bass!
Internationally acclaimed Boston-based jazz pianist and composer Laszlo Gardony is one of the most expressive and technically skilled pianists working in jazz today.
“A formidable improviser who lives in the moment” (JazzTimes), Laszlo Gardony has performed in 27 countries and released 14 albums on the Sunnyside, Antilles, and Avenue Jazz labels during his distinguished decades long career.
1. Levitation Opus I (7:48)
2. Levitation Opus II (6:32)
3. Levitation Opus III (7:27)
4. Levitation Opus IV (10:48)
5. Levitation Opus 5 (5:45)
6. Levitation Opus 6 (11:21)
On a recording that clearly shows us that both Kevin and Laszlo have a deep and immediate artistic connection, of which can be heard in each of these advanced and intricate compositions, they open with the low ebbed, scratchy at times, piercingly angular at others, notes and melodies within Levitation Opus I and back that up with the quieter, more methodical works within both Opus II and Opus III.
Opus IV is one of my own personal favorites, for the ten minute oeuvre is a veritable smorgasbord of astute, organically-charged, at times insular, other times methodically disjointed, yet at all times melodically fascinating rhythms, whilst Opus V brings forth a thematic approach to their work, with the recording coming to a close on the excitedly jaunty, experimental yet cultured, and wholly ambient eleven minute Opus VI."
"Kevin Kastning and Laszlo Gardony spontaneously generate proto-post-classical music that is simultaneously ahead of and beyond its spacetime."
- Barry Cleveland (US)
- Greg Scelsa (US)
Congratulations on this new album, which is really admirable.
I take great pleasure in listening to Levitation I because it is so alive, full of creativity and passion. This is really my favorite of your work. The duo you form with Laszlo evolves in a kind of fusion in which the 2 instruments end up making only one. Your level of musical communication is very high.
So both of you take us on a journey inside ourselves. You take us to a world without words in which sounds become colors and sensations; rhythms are impulses and joy; themes become passion and flight away. This music leaves no room for the intellect, it is purely to be received. We must not try to understand it, we must just let it take us.
Bravo for the sound, for the mix, for everything. This album is just passion and love. Excellent my friend, beautiful."
- Philippe Fouquet (FRANCE)
"Kevin this is truly like NOTHING I've heard before. What you and Laszlo are doing here with the double contraguitar and piano is nothing short of groundbreaking. Truly iconoclastic work and pushing the genre forward where it needs to go. I salute your combined genius. And it was recorded on one single day (!!!)"
- Madi Das (INDIA)
"I have received Levitation I. I am very happy to hear these wonderful musics, it is a really uplifting feeling. You work fantastically with László, I can only congratulate you and look forward to the continuation."
"This is remarkable, Kevin. The non-tempered tunings give this music such a
feeling of mystery. Beautiful work."
- Stanley Grill (US)
Just checked out some tracks on your album. The first track “Levitation” Opus One is such a unique improv. I love the space that everyone creates for different parts to emerge. The opening chords in Opus 2 are really cool. I love the parallel motion of the quasi block chords and subsequent gentle melody that develops. Again, the space in your music is really effective in terms of hearing and appreciating the various instruments—all of which pay in the conversation at the right moment. The sound of the guitar is just beautiful. Opus three is so exotic and magical! Great chord clusters here. Also, the cluster chords that support the lyrical piano melody on Opus 4 is really effective. I also enjoy the later chords in this one. Opus 5 develops its material so naturally. I like the piano ostinato as a way to develop. Opus 6 is a great contrast to the other tracks, especially with the rhythmic outbursts from the guitar and fluctuating meters. The harmonic vocabulary on this album is most original.
Tom Mazziola (US)
© 2022 Greydisc Records / Suigeneria Music [BMI]