Voiceless tales of mystery and unplugged imagination that join the dots to reveal universal patterns.
With duo setting a regular modus operandi for Kevin Kastning, finding the American guitarist on his own means something special is about to happen – and that’s what “A Connection Of Secrets” is about. Hidden in plain view, the wonders which happen here may be fleeting but they create mental links which leave lingering aftertaste.
There’s a concealed concept to the album, as suggested by the central position of “What You Thought Were Alders In The Snow…” and “…Were Fragments Of Your Darkest History”: the two pieces take up about the third of the record, yet hardly define its melodic flow whose weight is so arbitrary that the listener will have to pay close attention to the delicate, though punchy, amplitude of Kevin’s strings in order to clasp the overall picture. The master of aural stained glass, this time Kastning implements intriguing muscularity to opener “No Light; But Rather” where sparse menace resonates in tight space and notes hang heavily in humid air before descending in broad strokes on the transpiring tune and evaporating in “Before Return And Prior” to form fuzzy, if crystal-clear in their tone, clusters of rapture.
The drift would turn to even more enigmatic, and taut, baroque-tinctured strum in “Or Why It Came To You” to challenge the piece’s epic scope with elegance, while “Of Grasp And Knowing” has jazz written all over its piano majesty. Deeper still, the visceral twang of “Silent Mirrors And Remembering” is bent on reflective vibe, but “As Through A Window Circumscribed” pitches sharp shards of folk playfulness into the murk, so the slow ripples behind “Not Here The Darkness” feel solemn by contrast. Strangely, “Under The Surge Of” doesn’t resolve the shades of tension that have been building until this point, which should bring home the album’s title: the grand scheme of the unknown.
Unstable yet impressive.