Ruben Machtelinckx and Thomas Jillings have been musical companions for years, a partnership of two composers and instrumentalists which carries the name Linus.
For their previous album, 'Felt Like Old Folk' (2016), they collaborated with fiddler Nils Økland (NO) and euphonium player Niels Van Heertum (BE). It sparked an appetite for more. For their fourth album they invited percussionist Ingar Zach (NO) to join the ranks.
The quintet first played at Brosella Festival 2016, completed further by guitarist Jakob Bro (DK). Time and time again, Machtelinckx and Jillings combine the ripened maturity of a long collaboration with the crisp freshness of a first meeting.
The unusual instruments played by the guests – Zach being a master of the gran cassa, Økland playing the Hardanger fiddle (a traditional Norwegian instrument similar to the violin) and Van Heertum's euphonium producing deep brass tones – complement and enhance the typical Linus sound.
In the greatest happiness there is a hint of sadness, provoked by the sudden realization that the bloom will come to an end, or by the agonizing sweetness of its own beauty.
On this album five musicians come together, sometimes as distinct individuals, other times as a lush unison.
Though the space occupied by Linus + O/VH/Z is modest, a use is found for every corner and every niche of the sonic room, through a scurrying banjo and a pair of imposing bells, with songlike melodies and resonant strings.
The acoustic quintet ventures into measured doses of electronica, without ever letting the music lose focus.