Belgian alto saxophonist Erik Bogaerts
leads Mephiti, a strings-heavy band with a light touch. The strings are Ruben Machtelinckx
(electric guitar), Bert Cools
(acoustic/electric guitar, electric guitar, and synthesizer), Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė
( kanklės: Lithuanian plucked box zither) and Brice Soniano
(double bass). Stijn Cools
completes the group on drums.
"Shilly" opens the album with a pensive alto-saxophone melody over a double-bass countermelody, the string section providing a rich texture of arpeggiated chords. "Hymne I" provides immediate contrast with its sprightly rhythms and overlapping ostinato patternswhich all dissolve into a spacious call-and-response between all of the band members.
"Hymne II" is quite different from the first one; it begins with a gentle unaccompanied kanklės solo, building to a group conversation. "Lenaé" has a similar opening, but with Bert Cools taking a harp-like role on acoustic/electric guitar. "Oude steenweg" is almost a drum solo. Tom-toms open, with a spacious, slightly ominous mood; Stijn Cools adds cymbals to the mix, then finally acoustic guitar joins in for the last minute. The closer, "Kat kreupel," begins with a deliberate guitar/bass introduction, adding an atmospheric saxophone line and cymbal washes.
Like many Belgian groups, Mephiti occupies a space that combines chamber jazz, folk music and minimalism. Recent examples include Veder's Evergreen
(Aspen Edities, 2017) and Linus+Økland/Van Heertum/Zach's mono no aware
(Aspen Edities, 2017)both of which also share guitarist Ruben Machtelinckx as a group member. Bogaerts' music has its own lyrical melodic signature, and a unique instrumental texture.
Track Listing: Shilly; Hymne I; Hanneke; Krevelstraat; Hymne II; Lenaé; Oude steenweg; Kat kreupel.
Personnel: Erik Bogaerts - Alto Saxophone
Ruben Machtelinckx - Guitar
Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė - Kanklės
Bert Cools - Guitar & Synth
Brice Soniano - Double Bass
Stijn Cools - Drums
| Year Released: 2018
| Record Label: El Negocito Records