Review of When the shade is stretched by Ruben Machtelinckx and Frederik Leroux, Aspen Edities, 2017
Ruben Machtelinckx: banjo, long scale banjo, guitars, vibration speaker, objects
Frederik Leroux: banjo, tapedelay, voice, recorder, bird whistle, harmonium, percussion, piano and synth
What would you answer me if i would ask you what does the word “banjo” suggest you? Personally I have always connected the banjo to American folk music: jazz dixiland and bluegrass, never to contemporary music, I have always had a folk vision of this instrument, but I have to change my mind. In the hands of two experienced and creative musicians such as Ruben Machtelinckx and Frederik Leroux the banjo, combined with the use of other instruments, objects and effects can give unexpected results that amaze and interest the listener, revealing new possibilities and future uses.
Merit of the two Belgian guitarists, Ruben Machtelinckx and Frederik Leroux, who divide the spaces of this album, When the shade is stretched, realizing a split, 7 tracks by Machtelinckx and 6 by Frederik Leroux. The idea that unites them is the desire to reinvent and regenerate the use of the banjo in contemporary music, but they come from different points of view. Ruben Machtelinckx is one of Belgium’s best contemporary musicians, quickly becoming a respected composer and guitarist with a very personal sound. Frederik Leroux is one of the hidden secrets of Belgian jazz and improvised music, where he was able to create a personal musical universe characterized by a humorous and surreal vein. This record reflects their different personalities: while Machtelinckx presents pieces characterized by a determined structure that look more like an academic composition, Leroux winks more at free improvisation and a more free and indeterminate approach. The result is a great record, really interesting.