Tom Kerstens' G Plus Ensemble: Utopia (Real World/Southbound)

 |   |  <1 min read

Tom Kerstens: The Number 88
Tom Kerstens' G Plus Ensemble: Utopia (Real World/Southbound)

Although nominally a contemporary classical album -- English acoustic guitarist Kerstens and a string quartet -- this delightful, deep, meditative and probing album should find wide favour beyond the recital hall.

Kerstens has commissioned from outside the classical world for this debut of his G Plus ensemble (which includes The Tippett Quartet) and among the composers are New Zealander John Metcalfe who was the viola player in Vinnie Reilly's experimental Durutti Column out of Manchester and did some arrangements for Peter Gabriel's Scratch My Back project, and Joby Talbot was in The Divine Comedy.

In the liner notes Kerstens makes clear he didn't want "cross-over" music but compositions which were simply expressive in their own right, regardless of whether they referred to classical, pop, jazz or experimental traditions.

That is certainly what he got: these works float as almost stateless citizens living between all those worlds he mentions: elements of chamber pop alongside minimalism; dramatic, almost cinematic passages which wind down to the most refined solo moments, and Kerstens isn't averse using gentle digital delay to fine effect on some of Metcalfe's pieces.

It is unlikely you'll see this reviewed anywhere else, but if the idea of emotionally engrossing acoustic guitar and string ensemble music sounds like your thing don't let this one go past you.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

IN BRIEF: A quick overview of some recent international releases

With so many CDs commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column which scoops up releases by international artists, in much the same way as our SHORT CUTS column... > Read more

Joan Osborne: Pretty Little Stranger (Shock)

Joan Osborne: Pretty Little Stranger (Shock)

While going through some papers last week I came on the interview I had done with Joan Osborne in smalltown Vermont as she was riding the crest of her unexpected radio hit that went, "what if... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Naples, Italy: You have been warned

Naples, Italy: You have been warned

"The thing with Napoli," said Alfonso leaving a pause for effect, "is the tourist people they love it or they do not. But I understand why they do not. The city, she is . . . "... > Read more

SERGIO MENDES INTERVIEWED (2006): The return of the cool and the kitsch

SERGIO MENDES INTERVIEWED (2006): The return of the cool and the kitsch

If you need further proof that you should go through your parents‘ and grandparents‘ old records it’s the current revival of Sixties hitmaker Sergio Mendes. The pop career of... > Read more