I Walked into the Silver Darkness – Mark Wingfield & Kevin Kastning
When I first heard Kevin’s music I was immediately transfixed. That rarely happens to me. I knew instantly that I was listening to something completely original sounding. This very rarely happens to me. I was also gripped by the depth and richness of the musicality. I listened to it several times and then thought… hey I wonder if we could do something interesting together. I had no idea what we would do. But I had a feeling that I really should contact Kevin and suggest it. I could hear that although we approach the guitar totally differently and that he was obviously very acoustic, and I very electric, that on an artistic level, there was a real connection there. So I emailed him and suggested we talk about a possible collaboration of some kind.
We booked a studio session for Nov 2010 as I was going to be in the U.S. during that time. As the session approached we emailed and agreed that we were not going to have any compositions or any preset musical ideas. Our concept was loosely that we would improvise with the aim of making it sound like a composition, but that was all. I found myself in the strange position of being a week away from a recording session and having no idea at all, what we were going to do. That’s not something I’d ever done before. But I remember Kevin saying he had a strong feeling that something good would happen.
When we entered the studio we started recording as soon as we picked up our guitars and I remember thinking, well it could be useful to record while we experiment and work out how we’re going to approach this. But that idea went out of my head by the end of the first four minute piece we played. It was immediately clear to me that what we had played was a finished piece. Every piece that followed was like that, finished and complete. There was no question of experimenting or needing to work anything out. We took a short break between each track long enough to say, “who’s going to start?” or “shall we start this one with a tempo?” or “why don’t we change instrument/sound” and then we would be straight into the next piece. I have never experienced anything like it. So each piece on this album is a first take, completely improvised, not based on anything prewritten with no overdubs.
As we played I knew what we were creating was something special, it felt very organic and yet we were going to places in the music which normally just don’t happen in improvisation. We were ending up in musical places that normally only happen when the music is carefully composed. Of course as is usual when improvising, we were listening very closely to each other and reacting to what each other played from moment to moment, but there was this whole other level happening where strong compositional elements emerged in the music as we played. Listening back it is this which I find most central to what makes this music unique.