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Karl Van Deun & Ruben Machtelinckx: Shapes

Jakob Baekgaard By

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In spite of his young age, Belgian guitarist Ruben Machtelinckx has already traversed a wide spectrum of musical expressions, and yet, while the textures are different, his records share a certain lyrical sensibility and the quality of dwelling in the moment.

On Shapes, Machtelinckx joins his former teacher Karl Van Deun to play an exquisite program of acoustic music, mostly penned by Van Deun.

The opener is simply called "The Guitar" and is almost an aesthetic program in itself, with beautifully baroque guitar lines intertwining in delicate shapes. Lyrical folk jazz in the spirit of J.S. Bach.

A title like "Mister Sandman's Rag" underlines the feeling of a gentle lullaby while "The Marriage" has a country- folk twist, with Machetelinckx playing banjo. There is also a homage to the great guitarist, Michael Gregory Jackson, who gets a special wordless rap filled with deep blues-licks.

Shapes is not the first collaboration between Van Deun and Machtelinckx. The album follows Ask Me -Don't Ask Me (El Negocito Records, 2014), and in fact, there is a humorous reference to this album on the track, "Don't Ask Me, Ask Me," a meditative acoustic abstraction. Both of the albums show the close communication between Van Deun and Machtelinckx.

References could include Pullman's lovely acoustic album Turnstiles and Junkpiles (Thrill Jockey, 1998) and the acoustic super group, MGT, with Wolfgang Muthspiel, Slava Grigoryan and Ralph Towner, but also the guitar duos of Towner and John Abercrombie come to mind.

However, Machtelinckx and Van Deun have their own thing going and Shapes is worth checking out for anyone interested in lyrical acoustic music where influences from jazz, blues, folk and classical music melt into a personal expression.

Track Listing: The Guitar; Slaaplied Voor Grote Mensen; Medieval; Warme Streken; Astor Zolla; Don’t Ask, Ask Me; Beek; Rap for Michael Gregory Jackson; Mister Sandman’s Rag; The Marriage; Meenseguts; Wyble; Done Gone.

Personnel: Karl Van Deun: classical & acoustic guitar; Ruben Machtelinckx: classical & acoustic guitar, banjo.

Title: Shapes | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: El Negocito Records

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