All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

4

Ruben Machtelinckx/Frederik Leroux: when the shade is stretched

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Ruben Machtelinckx and Frederik Leroux are both Belgian guitarists who have made increasing use of the banjo. They have previously performed together on Linus + Skarbo / Leroux (El Negocito Records, 2015)—Machtelinckx's project with reed player Thomas Jillings—but here they present separate solo programs. It's similar to each taking a side of an LP album. While the focus is on the banjo, it is definitely not merely a collection of unaccompanied banjo solos (although there are some tracks that are banjo-only).

Machtelinckx leads off the album (and his part of the program) with "Turdus." The first sound is a drone (perhaps from the "vibration speaker" listed in the credits) with overdubbed banjos playing a repetitive, minimalist pattern; later guitar chords are added—a gentle, minimalist sound world with banjo the unlikely instrument at center stage. The next track, "Open" is the first of two brief guitar solos, which serve as intermissions between banjo-oriented tracks. "One Morning, Ten Years Later" features chord-melody style banjo (a switch from the usual finger picking approach), while "Mirror Men" employs two banjo parts in dialog playing a minimal chord sequence, heavy on the reverb. "Spuds" is also a banjo duet, while Machtelinckx's closer "Short Sentence" features contemplative banjo chords answered by the mellow baritone guitar (another instrument that he has used often).

Leroux begins his segment ("Dawn") playing banjo with a slide (blues guitar style) over synthesized white noise that sounds like the wind, establishing a sound world of his own, which he revisits on the closer "Dusk." "The Faerie Queens" employs a bird whistle playing a melodic fragment over banjo chords with reverb—Leroux has a predilection for nature sounds—whistling sounds appear again on "Arum Lily," along with harmonium chords and an insistent banjo ostinato. "Lock My Door Upon Myself" runs the banjo through tape delay, while also adding percussion to the mix. "Woman On A Rocking Horse" finally does feature almost traditional solo finger-picked banjo, but with the twist of a stereo doubler.

At its heart this album revolves around five-string banjo played with finger picks, just like a bluegrass record. But both players subvert the banjo's usual role in different ways, beginning with the generally minimalist, repetitive sound. In fact the banjo fingerpicking style is well suited to that kind of pattern playing—it could be argued that it is more natural than it is when done on the guitar. Both players find guitar techniques like slide playing and tape delay irresistible as well, and so will the open-minded listener. Especially recommended to banjo fans looking for something different, but there's plenty of minimalist atmosphere for people who didn't even know they liked the banjo.

Track Listing: Turdus; Open; One Morning, Ten Years Later; Mirror Men; Harm; Spuds; Short Sentence; Dawn; The Faerie Queene; Arum Lily; Lock My Door Upon Myself; Woman On A Rocking Horse; Dusk

Personnel: Ruben Machtelinckx: banjo, long scale banjo, guitars, vibration speaker, objects; Frederik Leroux: banjo, tape delay, voice, recorder, bird whistle, harmonium, percussion, piano and synth.

Title: when the shade is stretched | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Aspen Edities

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Heart Tonic" CD/LP/Track Review Heart Tonic
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 7, 2018
Read "The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore" CD/LP/Track Review The Rabbit and the Fallen Sycamore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 12, 2018
Read "Charlie & Paul" CD/LP/Track Review Charlie & Paul
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 25, 2018
Read "Wrong Turns And Dead Ends" CD/LP/Track Review Wrong Turns And Dead Ends
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 13, 2017
Read "Songs of Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Songs of Experience
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Vanished Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Vanished Gardens
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: June 27, 2018