There are moments on Flock so pretty, it’s heartbreaking. Guitarist Ruben Machtelinckx constructs languid melodies and juxtaposes them with insistent tempos, hinting at a potential intensity. It results in an uneasy serenity that is an immersive experience, but one that could be shattered with just the slightest touch of dissonance.
Key to this sensation begins with the way in which Joachim Badenhorst paints the loveliest passages against this backdrop on reed instruments. His lyricism is consistent, and to great effect on bass clarinet. The melody of title-track “Flock” isn’t played, it’s poured. This continues with “Peterson,” but with the foot pressed just slightly on the gas pedal. Badenhorst’s bass clarinet sings with a presence, sighs with an arresting redolence.
Machtelinckx and Hilmar Jensson team up on guitars for this session. The dynamic mix of electric and acoustic guitars, baritone guitar and banjo provides them the tools to play with tone and tempo, while also accentuating the melody in ways that up the level of beauty. “Cumulus” flashes some teeth and shows some bite with a dissonant outro. “McMurdo” weaves bursts of electric guitar heat into a melodic cascade from banjo.
On a track like “The Hunter,” bassist Nathan Wouters illustrates his talent for layering shadows across the moonlit path of Badenhorst’s melodic expressions. On “Loos,” Wouters’s shadows impose themselves upon the fading light of electric guitar.
An album of a mesmerizing beauty.
Your album personnel: Ruben Machtelinckx (guitar, baritone guitar, banjo), Hilmar Jensson (guitar), Joachim Badenhorst (tenor sax, clarinets), and Nathan Wouters (bass).
Released on El Negocito Records.
Jazz from the Antwerp, Belgium scene.
Or purchase the CD or Vinyl direct from the artist.