The First Realm: Reviews and Quotes

 

"For The First Realm, I have never heard you play better. Again and again you attempt daredevil feats of improvisational and technical abandon and always somehow manage to pull them off without faltering.

This is not only a different branch of your work, but a different branch of music. A sort of “classical” music—but from a planet that never was. In a word, outstanding. I love this album."

- Barry Cleveland (US)
 

"I think your playing on The First Realm is just incredible. I'm constantly blown away by what you're doing. Your playing has really reached to new and higher levels both in terms of invention, thematic composition, and technique. You're just flying on your instrument on all the tracks, it's amazing. You are, to my ears, on another level. You create amazing musical vista after amazing musical vista. What you are doing is just so amazing and compositionally powerful."

- Mark Wingfield (UK)

Kevin Kastning & Soheil Peyghambari - 2021 - The First Realm

(48:36; Greydisc)

****+
"When I see there is a new album available from Kevin Kastning I know it is going to be fascinating and that it will take me into areas I would not have previously experienced as a listener. That is again the case here, as he has chosen as his partner for this album Soheil Peyghambari who provides both bass and Bb clarinet while Kevin is on both 36-string Double Contraguitar and 17-string Hybrid Extended Classical guitar. Every time I see a picture of him with the former, I have real issue understanding how he can even know where all the notes are as it is a massively complex-looking beast. Given that he has released more than 40 albums, many of which feature that instrument, he obviously knows his way around. The instruments played by Soheil are in the lower register, which provide a stark contrast to much of that being performed by Kevin, which sometimes has a harp-like quality. In his introduction, Kevin makes much of the fact that Soheil does not appear to be constrained by jazz which is something which does sometimes happen with improvisers, and having played this I can certainly understand where he is coming from as he is very much in tune with what Kevin is doing and they are bouncing ideas without ever falling into any recognizable meter or style. Apparently, at the end of the sessions they agreed that although this was the first time they had worked together it would not be the last and there will be more to come from these musical experimenters and voyagers in the future. Until then, this is a highly enjoyable album which shows what two master musicians can do when left alone with no rules whatsoever and they just follow where the music takes them."

- ProgressoR webzine (UZBEKISTAN)
  March 2022

 

Kevin Kastning – Soheil Peyghambari: The First Realm (Greydisc Records 2021)

Kevin Kastning studied at Berklee College of Music (Boston) and with guitarist Pat Metheny.

Composer of more than 200 works for various solo instrumentations and chamber groups as well as recording with Michael Manring, Alex de Grassi, Carl Clements, Mark Wingfield or Sandor Szabo.

Inventor of the 36-string double guitar, the 17-string extended hybrid classic, the 30-string ContraAlto guitar, the 15-string extended classical guitar, the 16 and 17-string counter-guitars.

In The First Realm he is accompanied by clarinetist Soheil Peyghambari. Both merge into a sonorous embrace where contemporary chamber music stands out above any other definition.

In a sense we could point out certain similarities with the music practiced by the Oregon group (Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Glen Moore and Collin Walcott) and its most improvisative facet of its stage in Vanguard Records label of the 70s of the last century.

Kevin Kastning and Soheil Peyghambari develop dark, dramatic and deep sounds, investigating and experiencing composition and improvisation in equal parts. His dialogues are fluid and interact naturally throughout the 5 pieces that make up the album relying on a range of timbral textures as suggestive as elegant that explore the psyche with profusion; not in vain, it is Soheil Peyghambari himself who points out and defines a lucid dream as: "a dream during which the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming". "It's not a state of sleep, but of brief wakefulness or a state of conscious observation."

That is exactly what perfectly defines The First Realm, an exercise in awareness and mutual and lucid observation. A state of vigilance between Kevin Kastning and Soheil Peyghambari that elevates their music to the category of contemporary and unclassifiable art.

- El Escriba del Jazz (SPAIN)
  April 2022

 

Kevin Kastning & Soheil Peyghambari - The First Realm (Greydisc 2021)

Kevin Kastning studied at Berklee College of Music (Boston) and with guitarist Pat Metheny.

Composer of more than 200 works for various solo instrumentations and chamber groups as well as recording with Michael Manring, Alex de Grassi, Carl Clements, Mark Wingfield and Sándor Szabó.

Inventor of the 36-string double guitar, the 17-string extended hybrid classic, the 30-string contra-alto guitar, the 15-string extended classical guitar, the 16 and 17-string counter-guitars.

In The First Realm he is accompanied by clarinetist Soheil Peyghambari. Both merge into a sonorous embrace where contemporary chamber music stands out above any other definition.

In a sense we could point out certain similarities with the music practiced by the Oregon group (Ralph Towner, Paul McCandless, Glen Moore and Collin Walcott) and its most improvisative facet of its stage in Vanguard Records label of the 70s of the last century.

Kevin Kastning and Soheil Peyghambari develop dark, dramatic and deep sounds, investigating and experiencing composition and improvisation in equal parts. His dialogues are fluid and interact naturally throughout the 5 pieces that make up the album relying on a range of timbral textures as suggestive as elegant that explore the psyche with profusion; not in vain, it is Soheil Peyghambari himself who points out and defines a lucid dream as: "a dream during which the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming". "It's not a state of sleep, but of brief wakefulness or a state of conscious observation."

That is exactly what perfectly defines The First Realm, an exercise in awareness and mutual and lucid observation. A state of vigilance between Kevin Kastning and Soheil Peyghambari that elevates their music to the category of contemporary and unclassifiable art.

- Tomajazz Magazine (SPAIN)
  February 2022

 

Kevin Kastning & Soheil Peyghambari - The First Realm (Greydisc 2021)

The nature of the album paired with the Iranian clarinetist Soheil Peyghambari is different: it is in fact the first collaboration between the two artists and according to the liner notes, the agreement between the two was such that it could evolve into an ongoing project like the one with Wingfield or with other colleagues.
As always, these are elaborate compositions that develop around ten minutes each, but without electrical and piano connotations: here Kastning dedicates himself only to his creatures, the double-necked Contraguitar (a sort of guitar that is played vertically like the double bass and has thirty-six strings), and the hybrid classical guitar, which has seventeen strings, in
spite of superstition. Soheil Peyghambari, who lives between his country and France, has a shorter curriculum, being younger, but his productions have already aroused many interests in the fusion field, and it did not go unnoticed in the ears of Kastning who last January (the record is therefore very fresh from recording, as well as printing) wanted him by his side.
The result of the collaboration is a disc with acoustic and dark atmospheres in which the brightest tones of the American's multi-strings combine with the very low tones of the bass clarinet of his partner. If in the album with Wingfield we can talk about soundscapes, in this the classification escapes and the address seems to be more closely related to that conception of contemporary classical music so dear to the guitarist.

- Late for the Sky Magazine (ITALY)
  January 2022

 

Kevin Kastning & Soheil Peyghambari - The First Realm

Kevin Kastning, American guitar wizard - both in the skill of the game, and ingenuity in creating new versions of the instrument - our readers have already learned from reviews of his albums Ethereal IV with Sandor Szabo and Balász Major and Rubicon I with Mark Wingfield. But we meet with his new partner on this project, The Iranian clarinetist Soheil Peyghambari, for the first time. So, a few words about him. His first album Assumption was warmly received in both of these countries and brought Soheil the first awards. It is clear that the young Iranian is still significantly less known on the international stage than his eminent American partner, but the fact that Kastning wanted to play a duet with him, already says a lot about his talent and potential.
The First Realm album, their first experience of co-creation, was recorded in New York and Tehran. Mixing and mastering was carried out in Hungary by an old friend of Kevin's, Sandor Szabo, and the cover of his album musicians owe to the Russian Georgi Korunov - this is an example of musical globalization, in principle characteristic of today's world. But let's go directly to the music. The combination of Kastning's unusual guitars with Peyghambari clarinets (he played here on both the usual and low-voice bass clarinet) is unusual in itself, which has already given the sound of the album a unique specificity. The album features only five tracks, long, extended canvases that Kevin loves so much (three out of five run over ten minutes). If usually Kastning gravitates to ambient style, his Iranian partner unexpectedly introduced into the music (especially on the bass clarinet) features dramatic, emphatically emotional, which, I confess, I did not expect. The music of the album, in my opinion, only benefited from it. Nevertheless, the ambient remained its basis, as, indeed, the definition of "modern classical music" here will also be quite appropriate. In any case, it is a very curious work, worthy of your attentive listening.

- Jazz Square Magazine (RUSSIA)
  June 2021

 

Kevin Kastning & Soheil Peyghambari - The First Realm

I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve listened to Kevin’s music recently. Maybe a few years or more. I’m not sure. So it’s time for to delve my toes into the water to see what I had been missing. While we’re living in tricky times since everything came to a screeching halt in March of last year when both COVID-19 and the Pandemic hit, Kastning has always given us a chance to lift our spirits.

His collaboration with Iranian clarinet player Soheil Peyghambari are brought together with the release on the Greydisc label, The First Realm. This album takes you into the smoky, heavy evenings around midnight that can make your skin crawl. Kevin and Soheil can take the listener into these deep, dark atmospheres that can send chills down your spine.

This here is a perfect combination. Between Kevin’s 36-string double Contraguitar, 17-string hybrid classical guitar, and Peyghambari’s Bass and B-flat clarinet is like thunder and lightning that would hit at the right moment. When you listen to The First Realm you can almost feel a pin drop as Soheil plays his clarinet by channeling the late Lol Coxhill and some of the arrangements that David Bedford would have written for him.

It’s almost going into the dark secrets that Alice had left behind during her time in Wonderland and thru the Looking glass, but it is the nightmarish quality of going into the heavy forests. And it is a place that you do not want to go near. If you do, it can bring out these horrifying visions. But Kevin and Soheil are here to take the listener into that area to help them confront their demons once and for all.

This was another challenge for Kevin to tackle. And with The First Realm, it is part middle-eastern, free-jazz, neo-classical, and a movie inside our heads. I hope that he continues to give us more brainstorming ideas in the roaring ‘20s and hopefully once everything is back to normal, we will one day see him perform again in front of a live audience.
 

- Music From the Other Side of the Room (US)
  August 2021
 

Kevin Kastning & Soheil Peyghambari -- The First Realm (Greydisc, 2021) ***½

Guitar and Bb & Bass Clarinet. My two favorite instruments: guitar and bass clarinet. Maine based guitarist Kevin Kastning's is paired up here with Iran/France based Soheil Peyghambari on their first recorded collaboration The First Realm. Like the previous album, it features Kastning on an assortment of unusual guitars that he has invented, which extend the standard range of the instrument in multiple directions. Peyghambari's clarinet meanwhile adds its own expressive range to the mix. Opening track 'Sleep Memory Walking' starts off in the lower registers of one of Kastning's extended guitars, shortly thereafter joined by soft, low tones from Peyghambari. The two engage deliberately and offer gently unfolding counter melodies, extending each other's melodic ideas. The next track 'As stranded declination tendrils' plays out differently. Kastning creates an ephemeral atmosphere for Peyghambari, who adds tentative, short flowing passages. Each of the tracks evolve with their own unique approaches, for example the closing track 'Perduring toward obsidian transferal' offers moments where the guitar provides a moving base-line low-end (I'd write bassline, but it would not be quite correct) under wisps of Bb clarinet, while the track 'Beside shadows calling forward' is grounded by harp-like arpeggios for the clarinetist to react to. The general mood is subdued and dreamlike, the dynamics are hushed and little changes make for big differences.

- Sound in Depth Magazine (US)
  August 2021

 

Kevin Kastning & Soheil Peyghambari -- The First Realm

Turning to jazz or contemporary music, I would like to draw attention to a special album. The composition of the band is not something you see everyday: Kevin Kastning (US) plays a 36-string double contra-guitar, while Soheil Peyghambari (Iran) plays bass clarinet. Perhaps needless to say, I can hear my own compositions on this album, which I was able to listen to in the WAV format sent by the label. The formation plans to cooperate in the longer term, which obviously means newer discs.

- AVX Cafe (HUNGARY)
  August 2021

 

 

"On The First Realm, you two are are pretty much in perfect synchronicity. Really nice work, very impressive! Your playing is superb, I can rely feel the fun you had."

- Dieter Kaudel
  K&K Pickups (US)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Suigeneria Music [BMI]