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.
*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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