Kismaros: Liner Notes
I first heard Balázs in 2008, on Sándor Szabó's album Echolocation I. Immediately I recognized in Balázs not a drummer, not a percussionist, but a true artist. Over the years, that impression has only become stronger. This album could not have happened without the kind of artistry, sensitivity, and imagination exhibited by Balázs. My goal for this record was not a duo setting in which the roles are broken down into soloist and accompanist, but a true duo setting of two equals, where each instrument bears the same compositional weight and importance. These qualities and more live and breathe In Balázs' playing, making this record possible.
This album is a first for me in more ways than one. It is my first duo record with Balázs Major. It was the first time I've recorded an entire album without additional material that goes unreleased. Though I have recorded albums in a single day, this is the first time I've recorded an album start-to-finish in one sitting without taking a break. And it is the first time I've recorded an album using only one instrument; in this case, the Emerald Guitars Kevin Kastning Signature Series 30-string Contra-Alto guitar.
Kismaros was recorded at the close of the 2018 European Tour. We were in the studio; in this case, recording on-location at the concert hall in Kismaros, Hungary. We were recording trio and quartet sessions, but I wanted to try recording a single duo piece with Balázs. I had a thought that if it was successful, then maybe one day in the future we could discuss recording an entire duo album project. We recorded a single piece early that morning, and we both thought it went well and had a good energy about it. Our mutual friend and collaborator Sándor Szabó, who was there with us for trio and quartet recordings, insisted that we record a complete album of material right there, right then. By the time we broke for lunch that morning, the album was completely recorded.
For most album projects, the material on the final record is only part of what
was actually recorded for that album. There are always extra pieces remaining
unreleased that for
various reasons are not released as part of the album; perhaps it is a run-time issue,
or the pieces may not fit the overall theme or direction of the album. In the
case of this album, only seven pieces were recorded that morning. Ergo, the
entire duo session of 15 May 2018 is released as this album. Furthermore, the
pieces are presented here in the exact order in which they were recorded. In
this manner, you can hear the entire recording session as it unfolded that
bright spring morning in Kismaros, Hungary.
This is a very special recording for me. I have toured with and recorded other projects with Balázs, but this is our first duo outing. And, I hope, not our last.
- Kevin Kastning
24 May 2018
At the completion of Kevin’s European tour, we planned to make trio and quartet recordings featuring Kevin, Sándor, Roland Heidrich, and myself. On the second day of recording, we planned to play quartet pieces. Kevin asked me to warm up with a duo piece. He mentioned that sometime in the future, he might want to make a full percussion/guitar duo recording with me. After the first piece, Sándor proposed to us to continue with the duo to make a duo recording right then. The idea of a duo recording came so suddenly that I had no time to think of a concept for what to express in a duo setting. It was really a spontaneous, exceptional opportunity for duo, and in a few hours we recorded a full album as if we had prepared for it. The pieces were deep, nature-related, strongly enigmatic. As for myself, after recovering from a serious illness, this was my first work which was played in an entirely different music concept compared to my previous works. This was a huge challenge. I felt like I was standing at the border of a never-experienced new world and I have to discover it with every hit on my percussion. I got so many miracles from Kevin’s playing, he inspired me so deeply that the music just happened with no efforts. The recording environment was perfect and I could enjoy my friends Sándor’s and Roland’s selfless support. I am very proud of this duo album and I express my thanks to Kevin, Sándor, and Roland.
- Balázs Major
18 June 2018
© 2018 Greydisc Records / Suigeneria Music [BMI]