Mephiti is a new Belgian sextet, led by alto sax player Erik Bogaerts, known from local groups as Llop and Les Chroniques de l’Inutile. With Mephiti, Bogaerts suggests a set of dreamy and lyrical textures that rely on the unique interplay of guitarists guitarists Bert Cools, on semi-acoustic and electric guitars and synthesizer, and Ruben Machtelinckx, on the electric guitar; complemented with the zither-like, string instrument, Kanklės, played by Lithuanian musician Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė, the solid double bass of Brice Soniano and the rustling game of drummer Stijn Cools gives it all a wayward edge.
Mephiti self-titled, debut album was recorded on December 2016 and released as a limited-edition of 300 vinyls plus digital download options. The impressive artwork draws from Dewi De Vree & Jeroen Uyttendaele work ‘Ground’, an audiovisual performance in which graphite drawings are used as a control interface for several electronic instruments.
The suggestive artwork captures beautifully the atmosphere of Mephiti music, flowing with a strong melodic sensibility, nuanced, thoughtful and earthy. The guitars, kantele and the bass anchor the lyrical theme while Bogaerts’ breathy sax soars above and Stijn Cools drums color this melody with light touches. The string instruments offer a light, breezy West-African vibe on «Hymne I», that allow Bogaerts and Stijn Cools to dance with, and an enigmatic, cinematic-like, minimalist pulse on «Hanneke» and «Krevelstraat».
Jurgelevičiūtė opens the second side with the folky meditation «Hymne II». Llater its peaceful, melodic theme is expanded by the distant guitars of Machtelinckx and Cools and the caressing sax of Bogaerts. «Lenaé» deepens this pastoral, lyrical vein and captures it in a gentle-swinging song. «Oude steenweg» is a surprising, exceptional texture in this album, with its ritualistic, resonant pulse of the drums and bass, but the last piece, «Kat kreupel» captures again the dreamy, comforting spirit of this promising group and album.
Erik Bogaerts (as), Ruben Machtelinckx (g), Indrė Jurgelevičiūtė (kanklės), Bert Cools (g, synth), Brice Soniano (b), Stijn Cools (dr)