The fleshing out of intangible temptations from a multi-string duo who don’t pull a single one.
Opulence has rarely balanced understated grandeur in either Kevin Kastning’s or Sándor Szabó’s canon, yet this album turns what the two started on 2018’s "Ethereal I" inside out by casting the guitarists in, at the first glance, unusual roles: the former transferring the ideas of "Piano I" to a new context and the latter orchestrating it. Fueled with the samples of real acoustic instruments, the results sound powerfully organic and full on, as the solemn “Apertis et Tenebris” – Latin for “Open And Dark” – will testify, although in order to get there the listener is first taken through the nocturnal mist of “Lux Noctem Caligo”: a three-part chamber tapestry where sublime folk passages and nightmarish angularity conspire to create a molasses-sweet suspended animation.
There’s even a hint of pop playfulness in “Sic Claviculis aer Coelum” while the chords of “Tractus Abstantia” are funereal in their barely-there but hammer-like presence. It’s something that the three chapters of “Arcanus per Arcanum” change to vagueness whence another Ligeti-esque tune would emerge to occasionally display classical tendencies. Still, for all the splendor the pair was aiming at, understatement prevails here, and the record doesn’t deliver on its initial emotional promise, fading out in anticlimactic fashion. The trip across ether is clearly to be continued.