Adventurous sadness for guitar and reeds that, not trying to mirror each other, focus on one’s inner world.
Following down the path of their “an album a year” pattern to land on its fourth element, polymaths KK and CC explore introspection further on to give a progressively abstract bent to it. The duo’s limited instrumental palette may be deceptive, with two types of saxes and flutes at Clements’ disposal and up to 36 strings on Kastning’s frets, but their scope is not orchestral here: rather, the players’ sonic expansiveness touches emotional fringes of a mainstream melancholy to make sense of the record’s title. Inner turmoil is best examined from a distance as suggested by “A Misted Gaze Within” – vague yet enveloping – and what’s the best way to look at it if not to go for a sort of astral projection?
Still, whereas the faux-piano daubs color “The Swirling Return To Yourself” as a retrofuturistic baroque piece, there’s “An Open Window Of The Past” to let some air in on jazzy terms – well-structured improvisation, elegantly sustained notes – that become transparently vibrant in “Surrendering Realms Of A Near Presence.” The beginning of it all seems rather chaotic, though, “Should Not The Ancient” tapping into primal perception of tone, as sparse strum is wrapped in woodwind with no clear melody in sight, while a snippets of groove behind “Pretext And Figures” reveal a fabulously fractured tune in both high and low registers which is bound to embrace the ever-rarefied space and to get passed on to “Rendered In Forms” for a clearer view of the performers’ perspective.
Their interplay is tightly intricate in “From A Falling Gesture” where Kevin and Carl have equal exposure solo-wise, and that’s when inner dialogue turns external – just like a mirror is. It’s not easy to look at oneself from afar, and this is not an easy album to listen to, but it’s ultimately rewarding, if infinitely sad.