Ruben Machtelinckx: Sualme

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Ruben Machtelinckx: Sualme
As a local resident, Belgian musician Ruben Machtelinckx was asked to contribute to Kunst en Zwalm (Art and Zwalm) 2019, a contemporary art festival that happens every two years in Zwalm, a small village on the Belgian countryside. Machtelinckx settled on a sound diary format, taking a digital recorder and instruments he could bring with him by bicycle. The recordings he made include field recordings, improvisations and compositions: they are presented without any overdubs or edits.

"Mijnmwerker I" opens with the sound of birdsong, followed by woodblocks and banjo. The sound of a passing train—which Machtelinckx says he had never noticed before— inspires more active playing, so the whole thing is like a duet between musician and natural sounds. Brief snippets of environmental sounds are interspersed with music throughout the program. "Vistrap" is a short piece consisting mostly of the sound of running water (with a bit of wood block). The two "Low Organ" tracks took place in a church, with Thomas Jillings (Machtelinckx's partner in the band Linus) improvising on church organ along with the banjo.

"Koers" is full of local color: a bit of recorded folk music, a barking dog, traffic noise, and distant church bells. "Short Sentence" revisits a tune from the Ruben Machtelinckx/Frederik Leroux album When The Shade Is Stretched (Aspen Edities, 2017), but this time with the banjo answered by Thomas Jillings' organ instead of the baritone guitar used on the original. Machtelinckx's solo pieces on that album are the closest to the music here. The use of woodblocks recalls his playing on Poor Isa's Let's Drink The Sea And Dance (Aspen Edities, 2019).

Banjo is the dominant voice on the album, but "Dewy" is a lovely guitar solo. "Circular" has a similar feeling, this time on banjo, played chord-melody style. "Lieve Vrouwke" and "Op De Purperen Hei" both feature local singers, singing a cappella. "Mijnwerker II" concludes the program as it began, outdoors with birdsong, banjo and woodblocks. The album is released in a very limited 200-copy cassette edition (plus download code), the first release of the Edition Edities imprint Et Alia. The package has a charming, handmade look, very much in keeping with the intimate, local aspect of the music. Perhaps the most personal music Machtelinckx has made, but also the most inviting.

Track Listing

Mijnmwerker I; Vistrap; Low Organ I; Koers; Peloton; Krekels; Lieve Vrouwke; Short Sentence; Low Organ II; Paarden; Dewy; Rozebeke; Circular; Op De Purperen Hei; Mijnwerker II.


Ruben Machtelinckx: banjo, guitar, woodblocks; Thomas Jillings: church organ.

Album information

Title: Sualme | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Aspen Edities

Post a comment about this album



Shop Amazon


In Space
The Luvmenauts
Afrika Love
Alchemy Sound Project
Sunday At De Ruimte
Marta Warelis / Frank Rosaly / Aaron Lumley /...
Westward Bound!
Harold Land
Tread Lightly
Trøen Arnesen Quartet
MMBC Terma
Michael Bisio / MMBC


All About Jazz needs your support

All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.