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Felix Machtelinckx - Night Scenes

Review

Night Scenes by Felix Machtelinckx

Fragile exposures in the night

Ready for some falsetto? Of course you are. Felix Machtelinckx's quavering, sonorous vocal, comfortable in the company of Thom Yorke and Sascha Ring, carries an appealing vulnerability, a delivery that characterises his debut solo album Night Scenes. Up to now, his main gig has been guitar band Tin Fingers, who trade in a sincere form of dark and downbeat Pop (the Belgian producer also writes music for film and performance) but this despatch sees him branch off on a more intimate path, open to the scrutiny and judgement that that entails.

Piecing together experimental and personal compositions and those written for unrealised projects, all thirteen tracks on Night Scenes are linked by the concept of 'night'. Picture it: peering out from behind a half-shut curtain, a still, moonlit back garden, a row of anxieties pegged to the fragile thread of his delicate voice, at once claustrophobic in their lack of movement and unnerving in their honesty. With a nod to Sigur Rós, his words at times are unintelligible, open to interpretation, occasionally leaving you on edge with his intent (you decide if it's 'better' or 'bitter' on Love Made Me B*tter). On Buwigabuwi, with it's backwards singing, reversing the title for further insight leaves you hanging. Later, the quietly tense instrumental 5:30 offers stark contrast to the bare naked wordless wailing of Insomnia.

With the shackles of standard song structures discarded in favour of fluid compositions, the music stumbles and flows, gently challenging but ultimately reassuring. Guitar sounds are all but gone (could be feedback on Hypnose?) replaced with a variety of analogue synths that form the Ambient backdrop to most tracks, adding a grainy realism. An acoustic strum remains on my fav track Little Cuts which begins all deep and dubby, like a shadowy The Caretaker, before the most heart-wrenching melody emerges and hits hard. As his track record proves, his penchant for melody is his key strength and his defence against the night.

If you only listen to one track

Little Cuts

Label

Subexotic Records

Artist website

Felix Machtelinckx

Release date

16 Feb 2024

Tracklist

  1. Make Me Sad
  2. Love Made Me B*tter
  3. Buwigabuwi
  4. Mini Depression
  5. OMG We Cruel
  6. Dust Off Elf
  7. Little Cuts
  8. Interlude
  9. Fireon
  10. 5:30
  11. Insomnia
  12. Hypnose
  13. Dreamer
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