Otherworld:
Reviews and Quotes

Kevin Kastning: Otherworld

"Acoustic folk from beyond the grave? This nineteenth work of jazz guitarist Kevin Kastning indeed seems almost made into a kind of dark limbo, a twilight zone well represented by tetra cover comes from a painting by Ken Browne. In his prolific career, the first album is "The Kevin Kastning Unit" of 1988, Kastning has had the pleasure of working and recording albums with musicians of the caliber of Michael Manring, Alex De Grassi and in particular with the Hungarian guitarist Sándor Szabo , who oversaw the production of even "Otherworld". Student of Pat Metheny, as well as Refined guitarist Kastning is also the inventor of the series of 36-string guitars and 30 strings (!) In double handle together with the more "traditional" classical guitars at with 15 and 6 strings. Observing a thirty-six strings you may notice similarities with the Chapman Stick, indeed listening leads us to identify similarities in its tonal depth, obviously completely acoustic. "Otherworld" consists of sixteen compositions of short-medium term, written and performed solely by Kastning, recorded over three months, with no overdubs or studio tricks. The sixty-six minutes of "Otherworld" are quite challenging and at the same time very intense: after the recent collaborations with electric guitarist Mark Wingfield and saxophonist Carl Clements, two discs released in 2014 again on Greydisc, Kevin Kastning returns to the purely solo of his music with a style that is abstract confirmation, sometimes impalpable in its atonality almost ghostly, unless some steps where you can enjoy a more romantic vein and folk; we can sense the lesson of the Pat Metheny more intimate and acoustic, there is a taste for dissonance that comes close to Derek Bailey and Fred Frith, although the improvisational mode Kastning remains in any event within an environment acoustic music ... music that feeds on silence and resonances, plucked strings gently and sequences of notes elusive and fluctuating through a network of light and melodic in his moments less cryptic leads us to areas not too far from the most delicate phases of the "Private Parts" by Anthony Phillips. "Otherworld" is obviously directed at a particular niche audience, and not only to the acoustic guitar enthusiasts, but especially to those who can appreciate the implications of the most avant garde and radical music, through shady aesthetics and, of course, esoteric."

-- Arlequins Magazine (ITALY)
   July 2016

 

"Kevin Kastning has been performing music since he was a kid. The touches of both Classical and Jazz are an excellent combination. It’s almost as if he knows where he wants to take his musical compositions into those areas. Kevin attended Berklee College of Music in Boston as he studied privately with guitar legend Pat Metheny and has composed over 200 works.

He has released so far eighteen albums and working with people like; Carl Clements, Michael Manring, and Mark Wingfield to name a few. This year, he’s released his 19th album entitled, Otherworld on the Greydisc label. Mind you, I’m very new to Kevin’s music. And I have to say from the moment I put it on from beginning to end, I knew something special was about to come at me.

There are 16 tracks that he has written. And what I was also surprised by, was the strange instruments that he plays. A 36-string Double Contraguitar, 30-string contra-alto guitar, and a 15-string extended classical guitar. He invented those instruments. Kevin is a mastermind when it comes to designing and innovation. The virtuosic ideas on the new album is fascinating with its touches of the Neo-Classical boundaries and atonal music with the avant-garde surrounding atmosphere.

He takes the listener into a darker yet cavernous sound that will give you at times shivers down the spine. Alongside the Neo-Classical and Jazz approach, some of the tracks have a darker-folk like boundary in the pieces. Kastning knows exactly where the exact moment where he takes the instruments into those harder areas and at times, it gives me goosebumps hearing them.

It’s this strange combination between the sounds of Edgard Varese, Steve Howe, John McLaughlin, early Zappa, Arnold Schoenberg, and bits of the late great David Bedford thrown into the mix. It’s almost as if it’s thrown right at you when Kevin Kastning goes into those territories. Almost like walking on a tightrope and you don’t know if the cable itself is going to snap any moment and you have to make sure you have to hang on and make it before it cuts off.

Otherworld is not an easy album to listen to. But after listening to it twice now, I have to admit that Kevin Kastning isn’t doing this to show off, but to show a lot of hope and staying true to his vision on where he wants to go. Is there a stop sign for him? No. Will he keep on going to make more music for Brainstorming ideas? Absolutely."

-- Music From the Other Side of the Room  (USA)
   September 2015

KEVIN KASTNING/Otherworld: "Is Kastning's first solo record after 19 others really a journey through the past? Our fave experimental guitarist seems to be dialing it back a notch and turning in in a set that would have been right at home as one of Windham Hill's tent pole solo guitar releases 30 years ago. Leaving us wondering just how a face off between him and Michael Hedges would have come out, the playing here is far more intricate than it sounds and shows another side of Kastning in expected fine form. Guitar fans have to put this on their must have list. Killer stuff."

-- Midwest Record (USA)
   September 2015

"Those who thought they knew everything about the guitar in general and especially guitarists will have to reopen their books and make new notes in the shadow of Kevin Kastning. It's not that this boy will dazzle with faster than lightning solos and ability to pass Eddie Van Halen. This is not a superhuman ability to hurtle down the guitar neck with lacerating blows or frantic tapping, but Kevin Kastning made an impression. What's striking about this guitarist, originally from Kansas but now living in Massachusetts after going through the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, is his almost infinite imagination and inventiveness.

Kastning has so many ideas that the narrow framework of a six-string guitar was not enough for all his ambitions. So he invented his own instruments. Certainly, there is the twelve-string guitar but with Kastning, his ideas are grandiose, Olympian, with guitars of thirty to thirty-six strings. Yes, you read that Kevin Kastning is the inventor of the Contraguitar multi-neck guitar of 36 strings and alto guitar with Contraguitar in a 30-string, as well as more models with comparatively "small" 15, 16, or 17 strings . But in the double-neck model with 36 strings needed, this is the stage just before the harp.

With only ten fingers, like everyone else, Kevin Kastning can totally surround his one hand on a guitar neck that must be about 15 centimeters wide. He plays his instrument like a bass or cello, sitting on a chair and the guitar standing on a cello pin support. What he composed on his album "Otherworld" shows that Kevin Kastning reaches incredibly high levels of creativity, as the neophyte suddenly entering his music can really understand, unless you have already experienced his work in his previous 18 albums.

Because this is a work that Kevin Kastning wrote and composed. His first album was in 1988 (under the name of The Kevin Kastning Unit) and had since that time the opportunity to work with big names of acoustic music, jazz, or avant-garde. We mention for completeness Mark Wingfield, Carl Clements, Sándor Szabó, Balázs Major, and Michael Manring, besides Pat Metheny who mentored Kastning during his formative years. I confess to not having had the opportunity to penetrate this vast and complex body of work. But what I hear on this nineteenth album reveals an artistic mastery pushed very far, almost to a level where the artist has crossed boundaries inaccessible to ordinary mortals. Here, Kevin Kastning works on slow rhythms, stripped, on spaced arpeggios in desolate environments. He alternates pieces played with his double-neck 36-string and huge pieces executed with a simple acoustic classical six-string. He is obviously at the controls.

This record gives me the impression of a painting by Mark Rothko or Frank Stella: the artist has gone beyond to unreachable levels, reaching the point where one might wonder if he is still able to make a design within the reach of everyone. With Kastning, one wonders whether this artist ever played the riffs of "You really got me" or "Louie Louie," as he has now reached a stratospheric level in creativity. His song titles themselves are full of mystery: "No Light, but Rather," "In stillness defined," "Arc Rotation Shadow", "Veiled Silent Overturn," "No Abstraction of Perhaps," "Corridors Therefrom Within." This corresponds to the somewhat abstract musical art that comes inside from the guitars of Kevin Kastning.

All this may not seem very approachable, but shows that imagination and creativity have no limits. Kevin Kastning takes us into a new dimension of the art of the guitar and we remain free to follow or not."

-- Music in Belgium magazine (BELGIUM)
 
 September 2015
 

Kevin Kastning - Otherworld

"Kevin Kastning comes from Kansas, US (now he lives in Massachusetts) and apart from a skillful multi-instrumentalist & composer, he’s also a musical instrument inventor. I know that the last one mentioned may seem rather “weird” but Kevin prefers to play the instruments he has invented such as: the 36-string Double Contraguitar, 30-string Contra-Alto guitar and the 15-string Extended Classical guitar. Apart from the above-mentioned instruments, he also plays the 12-string Soprano guitar and the 6-string Classical guitar on this album.

Kevin has been playing music for quite some time and has released various albums (19 so far, including this one) with other musicians too like: Mark Wingfield, Carl Clements, Sándor Szabó, Michael Manring and so on. Kevin recorded the album at Studio Traumwald, Massachusetts US and Sándor mixed and mastered it at Tandem Records Experimental Studios in Hungary.

All the compositions are instrumental and follow a specific acoustic, tranquil, atmospheric & experimental path. This ain’t your typical show-off guitarist, who plays fast, weird stuff to impress his audience. Kevin follows the exact opposite way. Of course, it isn’t easy to play a 36-string Double Contraguitar, but he manages to do so and he also creates “strange musical” tracks which at times may sound a bit ritualistic. Certainly, this kind of music is not that reachable and easy to listen to on the whole. “Otherworld” mostly addresses those who fancy experimental acoustic instrumental music and have the time to wade into it. RATING: 8.5/10."

-- Grande Rock Webzine (GREECE)
   October 2015

"Massachusetts based Kevin Kastning continues breaking new ground for the art of the guitar with his 2015 solo album, Otherworld. When I say breaking new ground, I don’t take that term very lightly as not many albums of solo acoustic guitar music feature a guitarist playing 36 string Double Contra-Alto guitar, 30 string Contra-Alto guitar, 15 string Extended Classical guitar, 12 string Soprano guitar and 6 string classical guitar—all on the same album. Not only that but Kevin is actually the inventor of many of these guitars and to say he’s masterful at coaxing the best sounds possible out of them would be an understatement. Kevin’s Greydisc music imprint has already established itself as one of the most highly regarded experimental music labels in the world today. Earlier releases featured albums with modern music masters like Mark Wingfield, Michael Manring, Carl Clements, Sandor Szabo and other collaborators, yet on Otherworld, the focus is solely on Kevin’s moody and atmospheric guitar work. Once again superbly recorded, Otherworld lives up to its name as the sound is dense and raveled, dark and insightful. Back in the day, Kevin studied with modern day guitar masters such as Pat Metheny, yet his music takes you to places Metheny has yet to visit. In some respects, Kevin’s music owes more to experimental music makers such as Phillip Glass and even Harry Partch, who experimented with musical timbres that people hadn’t even dreamed of yet. Yet, even with this air of otherworldly experimentalism, all 16 tracks on Otherworld are quite easy on the ears—Kevin’s picked notes flying out into the sonic atmosphere with unparalleled ease. It’s to his credit that he’s earned his reputation by working and recording with other guitarists and musicians yet, on Otherworld, guitarist Kevin Kastning raises the bar for 21st century musical experimentalism as well as expanding the horizons for the art of the acoustic guitar."

-- Music Web Express Webzine (US)
   November 2015

 

"Otherworld is the perfect title for Kevin Kastning's 19th disc of dark guitar explorations. Kastning's playing takes you to a beautiful, cavernous, otherworldly landscape, walking you along the edge of sometimes atonal areas but ultimately returning to a comfortable place."

 

-- WFMU-FM Radio
   New York City, (US)

"Kevin Kastning is an extraordinary guitarist from the States which until recently I did not know but see increasingly popping up in articles about progressive music. In addition, he plays regularly with Mark Wingfield, the guitarist who was already at the attention of  ProgLog Afterglow. And, he is trained by Pat Metheny.
Kastning is not only special because of his game, but he is also the inventor and designer of new guitars. Examples include the 15-string Extended Classical Guitar  and 36-string (!) Double Contra Guitar. These instruments look great but also sound impressive. That can be heard on this solo album Otherworld, at least when it comes to solo work, from Kastning.
The album consists of 16 tracks, with very few exceptions, are often between 4 and 8 minutes. That makes some fragmentary but all the tracks are moving well in the same ambient atmosphere so that the album still sounds like a whole. Sometimes diving into jazzy chords, there are avant-garde passages and also beyond the traditional approach is not shunned but ambient is ultimately the dominant denominator. Used here are only guitars but that happens inventively and creatively so is not perceived as an absence of other instruments. Very occasionally, it makes me think of Anthony Phillips and his' Private Parts and Pieces' cycle.
This kind of albums are not likely many turners with me. And at some point my concentration is also gone. But the innovational capacity of Kastning, makes the guitar enter into a new territory, is to be praised in him. I wonder how the use of these 'many-stringed "guitar sounds in a wider occupation."

-- ProgLog Afterglow  (HOLLAND)
  
November 2015

"Kevin Kastning is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and musical instrument inventor. Musical instrument innovater might be a better word as Kevin designed a 36-string double contraguitar, a 30-string contra-alto guitar, a 15-string extended classical guitar and a 12-strings soprano guitar, and I'm only mentioning the instruments that he uses on "Otherworld". Except for the 6-string classical guitar, that is.

Otherworld presents 16 instrumental tracks. And it's only Kevin Kastning playing one of the above instruments.
The result does sound rather special.
Contemporary, experimental acoustic music.  Nice!"

-- United Mutations  (BELGIUM)
   November 2015

Kevin Kastning Otherworld (2015) Otherworld is a very apt title for Kevin Kastning's 19th - but first solo - album of splintery, spikey atmospheric soundscapes. Kastning has composed over 200 works and has recorded albums with Alex de Grassi, Michael Manring, Mark Wingfield, and many others. He is also an inventor of various "contraguitars," strange beasts such as the 36-string Double Contraguitar, which is played upright and has two thick vertical necks; a 30-string contra-alto guitar; a 15-string extended classical guitar; and a 12-string soprano guitar, all of which he plays here (along with a "normal" 6-string classical). These guitars allow him to extend ranges, voices, and sonorities way beyond the norm. Kastning's compositions have the effect of being invented on the spot, as if he is letting each note or chord guide him to the next, like mystical signs in a forest. The 16 original pieces segue seamlessly into one another, creating the effect of a symphony than a collection of songs. This is atonal, avant-garde experimental music, with hints of Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin, which eschews melody or easy hooks for the listener to grab onto. Sometimes Kastning focuses on specific sounds, letting them reverberate (the opening of Lingua Ignota); sometimes he plays with echoes, overtones, or percussive elements (Into Glance Turning). Drifting Thread and Wonder is one of the few fast-paced virtuosic and percussive pieces here, and ejects energy into the middle of the album. One of the most striking compositions is Present Red and Vanishing, which has an ominous spooky quality that relies on long pauses, dark colors, and bursts of fast runs threaded by very short but lovely melodic phrases. One of the prettiest pieces is Arc Rotation Shadow, full of delicacy and poignancy, with shimmers of notes like sparkles of light on leaves. Overall, this is difficult music that requires repeated listening and full attention to appreciate. But for those willing to follow Kastning's explorations, Otherworld is a satisfying journey into the music of a very original, modern talent.

-- Minor 7th magazine  (US)
  
October 2015

Kevin Kastning, Otherworld
"The 16 pieces comprising this album were “composed in the moment” and performed solo on 6-string classical guitar and four unique guitar-like instruments conceived and realized by Kastning and Alistair Hay of Emerald Guitars: 12-string Soprano, 15-string Extended Classical, 30-string Contra-Alto, and 36-string Double Contraguitar (the latter two being double-neck instruments constructed of carbon fiber).

The extended ranges of the instruments and the uncommon tunings Kastning devises for them combine to produce luxuriously rich sonic worlds replete with intriguing new harmonic relationships—worlds that were skillfully recorded and mixed sans processing other than for touches of reverb.

Otherworld has been warmly received within classical circles, which perhaps isn’t surprising given the music’s sometimes orchestral sensibilities and the fact that Kastning is himself an accomplished classical composer—but this music has no direct parallels in the classical repertoire, or, indeed, any repertoire. While Kastning does occasionally introduce more familiar-sounding material into his improvisational flow (most notably on the two classical guitar pieces), the touchstones of this music are its unprecedented harmonic juxtapositions, mesmerizing melodies, and adept deployment of the sheer sonic gravitas provided by the instruments themselves.

This aptly titled album does, in fact, provide the listener with a portal into a wondrous new musical world that is at once alien and strangely familiar."

-- The Lodge webzine  (US)
  
November 2015

"When I stated that, besides progressive music, fusion and instrumental guitar my passion is, it was obvious that the album Otherworld by Kevin Kastning would end up on my desk. Kevin Kastning is a solo artist who plays acoustic guitar and on the side he is the inventor of several guitars, including a 36-string double contra guitar and a 15-string extended classical guitar. Check the internet for pictures and you will be stunned by the looks of these monstrous instruments.

Over the years I have seen and heard a lot of acoustic music, but Kevin Kastning is something special. No fusion and certainly no progressive rock here, just guitars. Otherworld is like the Guitar album of Mike Oldfield, completely played on the guitar. But where Oldfield reproduced percussion sounds from his guitar and created accessible music, Kevin tends towards New Age and classical music. His compositions are intriguing, but hard to follow, if you are not a die-hard modern classical guitar fan. Being a pioneer is not always an easy job I know, but personally I find it hard to keep focussed when I listen to the album. Kevin's music is absolutely not suitable for just being background music. His compositions challenge you and really deserve to be listened to. You really need to take your time to listen to the songs and after that it might take some time to digest the music.

Kevin Kastning definitely is a guitar phenomenon and a brilliant player, but only for the right audience. For me Otherworld is a tough one, but I know the true acoustic guitar fans will appreciate this album."

-- Background Magazine (NETHERLANDS)
  
December 2015

 

Kastning, Kevin: Otherworld
"Kevin Kastning is an American guitarist and composer who has released a total of nineteen albums, including his latest release Otherworld. He has played and recorded with such luminaries as Michael Manring, Alex de Grassi, Mark Wingfield and many others. On Otherworld he decides to go it alone featuring just him and the guitar. What is unusual is the types of guitars he plays; 36-string Double Contraguitar, 30-string Contra-Alto guitar, 15-string Extended Classical guitar, 12-string Soprano guitar and 6-string Classical guitar. Now I am not a musician but I can well imagine just how difficult it is to play many of those instruments. Equally impressive is the fact he invented many of his guitars like the 36 and 30-string instruments.

Otherworld contains a total of sixteen tracks with many in the two to three minute range and the longest being just over eight minutes. While this is not an easy album to fully absorb on first listen the music is quite mellow and the songs have a nice overall flow. He is an impressive player, coaxing and fine tuning each note out of his instrument. What is important to note this isn't about showing off how fast he can play, although there are certainly some fast leads here and there. This is more about unusual chord progressions, arpeggios and harmonics. At times the music is dissonant but not in an overt way. This is more subtle, often times quite gentle and soothing.
The bottom line; if you appreciate non-mainstream acoustic music in the jazz and classical realms and with a touch of the experimental, Otherworld will be an album you can sink your teeth into.
"

-- Sea of Tranquility magazine (US)
   December 2015

KEVIN KASTNING – Otherworld
Greydisc 2015

"Instruments designer of note breaks out from collaborations delight to shine on his own.

Former student of Pat Metheny and partner-in-crime for the sophisticated likes of Mark Wingfield, Kansas-born Kevin Kastning may be better known for multi-strings guitars he designs than for the music he creates, but this album is bound to redress the balance. “Otherworld” feels strange, indeed, yet it’s hypnagogic rather than alien – in a way that makes some of the pieces hark back to both Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” and Philip Glass’ “Wichita Vortex Sutra” – as their eerie minimalism conjures up a stately loneliness. Still, there’s a life blood running through the record, and the dewdrops of “Present Red And Vanishing” paint it all in the most impressive, pointillist-to-impressionist, manner.

So while “In Stillness Defined” captures the moment of existence on a sparse backdrop with only the slightest of movements and a low-tone twang, a baroque reflection fills the vibrant space of opener “Dawn Forest Bridge” to resolve a strum in a resonating sort of solipsism. Of course, a certain abstractness sets in “Aspect Form Vortex,” although where “Drifting Thread And Wonder” bares a muscular undercurrent to the transparent texture without ever developing the yarn, “Arc Rotation Shadow” holds a whole romance in its glimmering picking. It’s not the unusual sonics that reign in “Into Glance Turning” or “Veiled Silent Overturn” but elusive melodies which the magic range of original instruments only enhances.

More so, Kevin gets high on a humorous contradiction of “No Abstraction Of Perhaps” with a hint at hope seeping in through a deep folk tincture, and the overall result is breezy, yet no easy, listening experience. That’s how a trip down one’s veins may sound like: mesmeric."      ****1/2

-- Let it Rock webzine (CANADA)
   December 2015

 KEVIN KASTNING: OTHERWORLD (greydisc)

"This is the latest in a string of successfully impressionistic solo and duo releases by Kevin Kastning on the Greydisc label. Kastning performs solo on 16 diverse pieces that run the gamut from sparse and melodic to atonal and abstract. Much of the uniqueness and appeal of this talented artist's oeuvre is through his use of exotically atypical instruments such as 15-, 30-, and 36-string (!) Contraguitars. Consequently, resonant ambience and ringing harmonics abound.

Things catch fire at the mid-point mark with "Drifting Thread and Wonder," which spotlights a serpentine melody rising above a predominately sedate program. The ever-intriguing, near-symphonic Contraguitar sonorities bear a harp-like quality recalling Michael Hedges or Pat Metheny's early work. The more "traditional" tracks, with six- and 12-string acoustic guitar, tend to have comparatively more warmth and familiar voicings at their core. Regardless of chosen instrument, Kastning is a master craftsman and one-of-a-kind performer."  3.5/5 stars

 

-- Progression Magazine (US)
   Issue 68 / Fall 2015

"The American guitar player Kevin Kastning’s name is familiar for our readers, after all we have introduced several of his albums in the last few years, which were made with his  collaboration with such artists like Mark Wingfield, Carl Clements, and Sándor Szabó. We cannot know that Kevin’s recently released new solo album is the beginning of a new era in his artist career, or only a single solo album which is the very first album in his artist life. Before I would write about the album it is worth to introduce the instruments he used on the recordings. The American musician used a double neck 36- string Contraguitar (2x18 strings), a double neck 30- string Contraguitar ( 12+18 strings), an extended range 15-string classical guitar, a 12-string soprano, and a 6-string classical guitar. All these guitars are made of carbon fiber, except the 6-string classical guitar.
A new kind of consciousness can be observed in the world not only in the music but in the entire field of the life. In certain circles of people there is a deeper and a committed interest for spiritual things. This kind of way of thinking brings up a new kind of arts and music, as well. After many listenings to the Otherworld I feel that Kevin Kastning’s album was born in such a spiritual atmosphere and as such it is very special and shows something absolutely new from the future. We can hear abstract music forms on the album and it demands more openness and attention from the listener to make a closer contact with the music. This music will open for only the listeners who are able to concentrate their full attention to it.
I think the main driving force of this special guitar player/composer is the curiousness: how is possible to create an inner order of the notes and intervals which does not remind to anything.
The Otherworld album  is the result which consists of 16 pieces. All compositions by Kevin Kastning. At least the half of the pieces are longer than 5 minutes, though the shorter pieces like the Autumn Movement Speculation and the last piece of the album called Corridors Therefrom Within contain a very dense essential content. In my feeling these two pieces summarize the most important musical thoughts. On the other hand, Otherworld's rhythm and harmony world suggests something new from the future.
All in all every notes and licks are deliberate and played on a high level on this album. Nothing is over played and over explained so the themes are gradually unfolding in the consciousness of the listener."

-- HiFi Portal magazine (HUNGARY)
   February 2016

 

"Kevin, thanks so much for "Otherworld." It's beautiful. And when it arrived in my PO box yesterday, I knew exactly where and when I'd listen to it: on the boat at sunset. Last night was one of those classic summer evenings in the Midwest -- about 80, no wind, quiet except for the crickets -- so your pristine music was perfect as I stared up at the stars.

Well done, man."

-- Mike Metheny  (US)

"Otherworld is astounding. Kevin has created something totally new here. This is ground breaking music and guitar playing on the highest artistic level. There are many moments of transcendent sonic and harmonic beauty the likes of which have never before been heard out of a guitar, or any other instrument. This album is an absolute requirement in any serious music lover's collection.”

-- Mark Wingfield  (UK)

"Hey Kevin, Otherworld is AMAZING!!! this is what I've been waiting for!!!!  Great!  I would love to have you on the show."

-- Mark Daven
   Host of Guitar Radio Show (USA)

"Dear Kevin,

Sunday morning I had the chance to listen to your CD. I enjoyed it very, very much!  A wonderful recording and very special, because for me it was the very first Kevin Kastning solo recording that I heard so far … Congrats for it!

I wish you a big success with Otherworld."

-- Ralf Gauck (GERMANY)

 

"Knowing well the international acoustic guitar scene I observe and must say that the acoustic guitar music is played only for entertaining, and no serious, far-reaching and fresh ideas come out from the international guitar world. I thought this until now. Kevin Kastning's solo album called Otherworld restored the music to its original, by now totally forgotten function: communication between his deeper entity and the Wholeness via intuitive channels. Very serious work full of never-before-heard beauties, a real clean art which initiates the listener to another world in an intimate ritual."

-- Sandor Szabo,
   Guitarist, composer, music researcher (HUNGARY)

"Otherworld is a very meditative record, with some beautiful pieces. The carbon fiber guitars sometimes sounds a bit like a piano, the way you play it."

-- Laurent Brondel (USA)

 

"Hi Kevin,

Thank you for the album. It sat on my desk for a few days until I got a suitable time to enjoy it. That came last week when I was working late in the factory when everyone else had left. I was able to turn the volume way up and fully immerse myself in the sound.
By far this is my favourite recording by you. The depth of the music and the expression of the instruments is just wonderful. It is such a wonderful sonic array and a great tribute to our collaboration."

-- Alistair Hay
   Emerald Guitars (IRELAND)

 

"Otherworld is, to me, a set of chiaroscuros, and of course I was heavily reminded of Ralph Towner's solo work (I caught him in concert many years ago at McCabe's - as well as at UCLA and The Wiltern with Oregon - and just the movement of his hands over the fretboards was purest magic) but also of Alain Kremski's work with bells and chimes ("Present Red and Vanishing" esp.) not to mention an array of the more ethereal and surrealistic players in the world…including any number of John Williams' more outre classicalisms, as in his The Height Below (a great but highly neglected release) and elsewhere. The entirety of Otherworld is, of course, an engrossing work even in its most airy and somnolent moments. As always, you sit among the very best, and it goes without saying that the disc flies straight into my permanent collection, nestling in among your other masterpieces."

-- Marc Tucker
   Independent music journalist (USA)

"Hi Kevin,

I received Otherworld today! Listening as I write..great mood!! Very
Michael Hedges :)

My best,
-Jeff"

-- Jeff Oster (USA)