04-09-2023 Music 13056

Poor Isa - dissolution of the other

Poor Isa - dissolution of the other

Poor Isa is the duo of Ruben Machtelinckx and Frederik Leroux. Two brotherly guitar players that have found each other in improvisation and sound exploration. They first joined forces in the project Linus + Skarbø/Leroux in 2015. In 2017 the split album when the shade is stretched (Aspen 003) was a conversation between two solo banjo performances. Finally, in 2019, Poor Isa released its first album let's drink the sea and dance (Aspen 007). In this project Leroux’ and Machtelinckx’ interest in banjos and woodblocks are explored.

Over the years, Frederik Leroux created a surreal universe where his music thrives. In 2012, the trio Leroux/Landfermann/Burgwinkel published their first album. A year later, Leroux made an astonishing solo album called Banjo (Sill Anders). Followed by a second solo recording on Aspen Edities. Since then he released a duo project with Kris Vanderstraeten, and a trio with Frans Van Isacker joining Leroux and Vanderstraeten on the label.

Ruben Machtelinckx first made a mark in 2013, when the quartet Machtelinckx/Badenhorst/Jensson/Wouters released their debut, Faerge. Since then has made several acclaimed recordings, both with his band Linus or under his own name. In 2020 he won the Award for Best Belgian Jazz release for porous structures (Aspen 009). He has worked closely with musicians such as Arve Henriksen, Nils Økland, Joachim Badenhorst, Ingar Zach, Toma Gouband, Niels Van Heertum and many others.

dissolution of the other

I sit and watch beneath my feet, the passage of time. - Jack Whitten

Banjo and woodblocks are the scarce ingredients of Poor Isa's second album, dissolution of the other. The instruments can be used not only in their usual form, but in alternative tunings, with preparations and additional attributes. This creates an otherworldly vacuum, rich in silence and shadow, with sounds that seem equally familiar as mystical. The music is broken up from its classical form and sounds like an instrumental field recording or a musical ceremony.

In contrast to the first album - which consists of nine short, playful compositions and improvisations - the duo now opts for two composed, long works. Both are the elaboration of restrictions and a limited number of musical ideas. ‘Figures’ is reminiscent of early music, with modal harmony and a free tempo. It’s a piece that ripples on and sounds are blended while both players face each other as if they look in a mirror. ‘Drifter’ focuses on rhythmic development with an ABAB structure. While the A part has dripping unpredictability, the B part has an ongoing, pulsing sound. Making the whole sound like a insistent ritual.


Read also