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På skive


«light as never»

«light as never» is the second album by the Belgian-Norwegian constellation Linus +, following «Mono No Aware» (Aspen edities, 2017), and offers its one-of-a-kind suggestive and surprisingly balanced dreamscapes made of Nordic folky, fiddle-tunes blended with abstract and minimalist electronic soundscapes, fleeting, meditative melodies and chamber, experimental improvisations. Linus are guitarist Ruben Machtelinckx (who recently collaborated with another Norwegian, trumpeter Arve Henriksen, «A Short Story», Aspen editie, 2022) and reeds player Thomas Jillings. The + side features fellow-Belgian euphonium and trumpet player Niels Van Heertum and Norwegian Hardanger fiddler Nils Økland and percussionist Ingar Zach. The album was recorded at deSingel in Antwerpen in June 2021.

Linus’ eclectic sonic vision always tended towards poetic simplicity with the ungraspable spirit of true, open-minded improvisation. Often Linus chose to expand its sonic palette with Scandinavian kindred spirits like Christian Wallumrød and Øyvind Skarbø and Jakob Bro. And as in all of Aspen edities releases, «light as never» is also framed in a poetic, enigmatic quote this time by Romanian philosopher and essayist Emil Cioran: «Une lumière inattendue les fait trembler, comme si des soleils pendaient à leurs doigts pour éclairer des paradis émiettés» (An unexpected light makes them tremble, as if suns were hanging from their fingers to light up crumbled paradises).

This quote captures beautifully the elusive, fragile yet seductive atmosphere of «light as never» where seemingly impossible sonic ideas find peaceful and optimist common ground, and nothing about these connections feels contrived. This quintet moves gently and organically from the joyful, sparse interplay of «Playful» to the hypnotic serenity of «Ostinato» (composed by Jillings), the touching folky-bluesy melody of the title piece (composed by Machtelinckx), the unsettling microtonal alienation of «Afrms Nothing», the reserved, vibrating energy of «Conway», the sparse, folk melody of «First Notes» and concluding with minimalist and meditative «Echo». «light as never» offers a unique, immersive listening experience that suggests a fresh outlook on improvised music.

Eyal Hareuveni

Ruben Machtelinckx (g, baritone g, bjo), Thomas Jillings (s, alto cl, synth), Nils Økland (hardanger fiddle), Niels Van Heertum (euphonium, tp), Ingar Zach (perc)

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