Reviews for Scalar Fields

Reviews for Bichromial

HiFi City Magazine (Hungary), June 2010: Kastning-Siegfried: Scalar Fields

Kevin Kastning’s name appears in the world more and more often as one of the most modern acoustic guitar players. In Hungary his name became known due to Sandor Szabo the great Hungarian acoustic guitar player. The two artists made 4 albums in the last 4 years, and last year they also introduced their special music in a tour in Hungary. Recently a new album called Returning has also been released.

In the following we introduce a special album where Kevin Kastning’s partner is Siegfried. The 70-minute long album stands of their common compositions. The music material can be divided into two main parts. The first part contains 10 compositions called Microlibrium, the as an answer to the first part, another 10 piece called Macrolibrium in the second part. Though we cannot know what the source of the intuition was, for any case, when I was listening the pieces the famous master of the yoga, Patanjali’s sutras came into my mind. Especially two of the sutras when a magical form can be small as an atom and can be so large as the whole Universe, as well.

The two musicians can sensitively illustrate the world of the opposites, the world of the small and the large and the inner small and large world of the artists. Great freedom can be felt in the playing of the two artists. They are able to create intense emotions with amazing ability, and also to solve them. There are moments when the two players can fly with the ease of a ballet dancer, but there are moments when they just fight with each other. Between these two extremes almost everything occurs in this album.

Featuring: Kevin Kastning (6- and 12-string acoustic guitars, baritone guitars); Siegfried (6-string acoustic guitar)

Label: Greydisc (USA)

HiFi City: Hungary


Guitar Player Magazine, (USA), February 2006:  Scalar Fields by Jude Gold

"Okay, it finally has to be said. While Guitar Player openly welcomes album submissions from indie artists handling their own publicity, please know that unless you’re mailing us a lost Robert Johnson reel or a truly irreplaceable document—such as, say, the Dead Sea Scrolls—there is no need to unload a full magazine of industrial-strength staples into your envelope and then mummify the thing with several rolls of packing tape. Why? Because, believe it or not, we actually open each package we get—even if it means we have to blunt our scissors and bloody our fingers in the process. We go to the mat with these stubborn parcels because sometimes we are rewarded with great music that is well worth the wrestling match—such as, for example, this intriguing collection of instrumentals from guitarists/composers Kevin Kastning and Siegfried.

Performed on nearly every manner of acoustic guitar (including baritone and fretless nylon-string), Scalar Fields delivers 20 ghostly tone poems that remind us that dissonance, angularity, and modernism can be beautiful and soothing in a way that more traditional, tonal composition cannot. Admittedly, the relaxed “Macrolibriums” can sound a bit same-y from track to track, but they’re same-y in a wonderful, hypnotic way—like each hour in a long, enchanted night of splintered moonlight. Take a listen at, and, at the very least, let these haunting timbres inspire you to check out as much indie music as possible, because never has there been a smaller likelihood that you’ll hear stuff this adventurous and hip on a major label." (Greydisc) —Jude Gold  Guitar Player Magazine

Minor 7th Magazine, (USA), January/February 2006: Kastning/Siegfried "Scalar Fields" 2005  "KastningSiegfried's newest offering of experimental acoustic guitar duets is both challenging and compelling. This recording consists of 20 interrelated compositions flawlessly performed by Siegfried on acoustic 6-string and Kevin Kastning on mandolin, 12-string, extended baritone, and a variety of classical guitars. The interplay and dialoguing between the two is so complimentary that both extraordinary musicians appear to merge into one unified voice. With "Scalar Fields" Kastning and Siegfried have created a unique collection of exploratory "sound paintings" redefining the parameters of acoustic music. While traditional "New Age" audiences with limited listening scopes may want to forgo this alluring album, more adventurous listeners wanting to broaden their musical spheres will find this recording truly rewarding."  -  Minor7th Magazine

    Music News UK, (England), January 2006:  "New England based guitarists Kevin Kastning and (the enigmatically credited) Siegfried have to be admired for their uncompromising artistic vision.

The 20 uneasy and haunted compositions presented over the course of just over 70 minutes may well be for many listeners an inaccessible confusion of unrelated phrases and misplaced virtuosity. However, scrape the surface, persevere and you will find... something.

Wordless, and perhaps easily misunderstood as a result, KastningSiegfried want your attention and without doubt deserve it. The premise is clearly printed in the sleeve: ‘Each listener might become our collaborator, performing their unique translation from the abstract to the concrete and personal.’

To this ends Scalar Fields is an amazing and absolute exercise in communication. And therein is the challenge – through experience alone, to understand or grasp an understanding of something intangible. The utter antithesis of the postmodern supposition that everything has to be comprehended before you experience it.

Sparse (two guitars, whether 6-string, fretless, baritone or otherwise, and nothing else) eerie, abstract music, recorded late at night in New England, Scalar Fields, casts even darker shadows than its jaggedly linear predecessor, Bichromial. The gentle, sadness of ‘Microlibrium 5’ is worth every penny on its own, but as a whole, this is a record that some people will love, and everyone will at least have a ‘considered’ opinion about."  (4 stars)  -  Music News UK magazine


Bridge Guitar Reviews, (The Netherlands), November 2005: Kastning/Siegfried Scalar Fields (2005 Greydisc) "The duo Kastning/Siegfried received a lot of critical acclaim for their debut (for Greydisc Records) album Bichromial. Now a year later they present their newest CD called Scalar Fields. Both acoustic guitarists focus on experimental guitar music by playing duets on as well 6 string guitars, fretless classical guitar, twelve string guitar and extended baritone guitar. Their projects is a mix of classical music and experimental music. The CD is divided in 20 tracks which express sound escapades reflecting divers moods with a melancholic, pensive and soothing atmosphere. Constantly there is a dialogue going on between the two guitarists which takes one on a spiritual journey. The technical abilities of both players is superb as well a constant mutual interaction. Kastning and Siegfried use a macrocosmic compositional and a microcosmic form in their compositions. The macro pieces take one on an abstract visual trip of the conscious and subconscious mind on structural landscapes. The micro pieces are not painted and to short to express a lot of feelings or moods, but both forms are related to convey a balance between the two musical forms. This approach to music is far away from any commercial setup, as the music is very demanding for a listener. To absorb the music Kastning/ Siegfried present one needs a solitaire place with headphones to fully understand the complex innervisions of both musicians. By fully concentrating on their music one is invited to provocative imaginary conversations of two very skilled guitarists and composers." - Bridge Guitar Reviews, The Netherlands

   (Australia):   "I have been listening to the lilting sounds of KastningSiegfried for many years now and prefer it served via headphones whilst sitting in the garden with a glass of red wine, but also, as a painter and illustrator I find it my first choice to play in the background as I tend to my work. While Book of Days remains my all-time favourite, Scalar Fields has a little more colour than previous works. Bichromial seems to come from the depths of the molecular, Scalar Fields, as the title and the cover suggest, launches itself skyward and beyond. I highly recommend any of this duo's work to everyone as Kastning/Siegfried never fail to provide an albums worth of relief from the fast paced world we live in."  (5 stars) - Review from, Australia

   (USA):  "Listening to Scalar Fields, KastningSiegfried's newest CD, is a sonically exquisite experience. The recording quality is superb; crisp and resonant, with the tone of the deep, rich baritone the aural equivalent to the finest quality dark chocolate. The interplay between the unusual complement of instruments; the nylon stringed fretless classical guitar, the first ever, custom built, extended baritone and the rarely used acoustic 12-string creates an environment of encompassing warmth. The pieces are intricate, meditative and soothing but certainly not "background" music. This outing is a follow up to the terrific Bichromial, and if anything, surpasses the level of excellence achieved in that recording. "  (5 stars) - Review from, USA

Scalar Fields comments From the Acoustic Player Magazine Forum; November 2005:
~ "Kevin, You are a blazing new trails in an area of guitar music where few dare to venture.  Also very nicely recorded."
~ "Amazing! Your compositions and playing are very unique, profound and of high caliber."
~ "Very cool Kevin. I only grasp a tiny bit of the theory and concepts but this was very enjoyable and some true mastery of the fretboard. The recording and sound was almost 3D with studio headphones on. I got your CD in the mail and the cover and whole package is very nice. Impressive work as always. I hope everyone will check it out. That baritone sounds huge and rich and thanks for sharing..."
~ "Hey Kevin, Great music, as always. The mastery is apparent and much appreciated. Your bari is an instrument to be dealt with. Kudos."
~ "Excellent, Kevin! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful music, along with your new baritone acoustic!"

  "Listening to Scalar Fields. This is some amazingly beautiful music. Amazing guitar tones on this recording, very pure, clear and present; beautifully recorded. It's pretty rare to hear unadulterated acoustic guitar tones and it feels good. I am excited about your music, it is not often I discover something that sounds fresh to my ears. I've been listening to quite a bit of acoustic guitar lately, but your music is quite original!  It's beautiful music."  - Laurent Brondel, Tone Casualties Records recording artist; audio engineer for Bill Frissel, Cuong Vu, Myra Melford   (USA)

Sea of Tranquility (USA) review 12.05: KastningSiegfried: Scalar Fields 
 "The music of KastningSiegfried is difficult to dissect, let alone describe, so I'll let the artists do it themselves: 'We composed the music around one of two concepts: a macrocosmic compositional form and a microcosmic compositional form. The macro pieces illustrate broad structural landscapes, stark directional shifts into distantly related shapes, and may progress through multiple interlacing systems. The micro pieces are narrower in scope ; sketched, not painted, yet are whole compositional molecules. The balance achieved within our two voices in the music is represented in the titles by the Latin word for balance: librae.'

Now, what does all this mean for the layman ? I'm not sure. Quite frankly, this musically untrained ear can't really differentiate between the micro and the macro elements of any of the tracks. All I'm hearing are delicate acoustic guitars interlacing in a constant exploration of uncharted musical landscapes. ...... Yet, somehow, it works. After getting a few tracks into the disc, one starts to hear patterns emerging. A synergy is born from what appears to be randomness and a calming effect takes over the listener's mind.

Not an easy disc to digest, but not an abrasive one either. Our catch-phrase here is "music for the new intellectual" so it stands to reason that occasionally we're gonna get called out on this. "Scalar Fields" is one of those times."   - Sea of Tranquility, USA (USA) review 06.05: KastningSiegfried: Scalar Fields

"Scalar Fields,
a jazz album with new age inflections, is the fourth CD collaboration of Kevin Kastning and Siegfried. It consists of 20 guitar duets, repetitively titled "Microlibrium 1" through "Microlibrium 10" and "Macrolibrium 1" through "Macrolibrium 10."

These are quiet, acoustic pieces that have some melody but still sound very formal. Siegfried and Kastning play acoustic guitar, while Kastning also plays acoustic 12-string, fretless classical and acoustic baritone guitars. All of the music was recorded live in the studio. The tracks range from 45 seconds to a little over seven minutes.

An excerpt from the liner notes give an idea of how abstract this CD is:

The twenty compositions on this album could well be placed into twenty different categories. However, we composed the pieces around one of two concepts: a macrocosmic compositional form, and a microcosmic compositional form. The macro- pieces illustrate broad structural landscapes, stark directional shifts into distantly related shapes, and may progress through multiple interlacing systems. The micro-pieces are narrower in scope; sketched, not painted; yet are whole compositional molecules.

I could not hear any differences between the two types of compositions mentioned above. The two men follow each other closely and blend together well. The compositions seem more like exercises than songs, however.

Unlike a lot of avant-garde music, none of this is jarring. However, there is little or no emotion here. The compositions are carefully constructed, but they tend to blend into each other.

This may be a CD for guitar players only, and careful listeners at that. However, KastningSiegfried must be credited for creating unusual and complex music." - Rambles Cultural Arts Magazine, USA