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Album Review

On his second album, Belgian avant-folkie Ignatz continues his unique take on New Weird Americana, soaring above his freak/free-folk peers (Vanishing Voice, No-Neck Blues Band, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Jackie-O Motherfucker) on a peyote-fueled fever dream, a journey to the outer expanses and hidden inner depths of the collective psyche of humanity. Various plucked instruments (electric and acoustic guitar, lap steel, banjo), a wheezing accordion (?), strange synth gurgles and drones, a crusty drum machine, incoherent vocal mutterings and yodels, all recorded on a cheap mixer that sounds like it was dug up in a time capsule constructed from a burlap sack — you can positively hear the sedimentary layers on this primitive, elemental faux-artifact of a recording. As bizarre as they sound at first, there's nevertheless something eerily familiar about the proceedings ("He Deals with Love & Her Eyes Glaze," "I Was Not There," and especially "Silver Moon...Shine Sun! Sun! Sun!," an "ethno-forgery" worthy of Sun City Girls) as he reaches into the dark corners of the soul and unearths unintelligible yet universal truths, evoking a Folkways series of "found" recordings from the vestiges of an ancient insane asylum. Best when listened to in an Appalachian shack with a potbellied stove, a bare cot, a rocking chair on the porch, and a month's supply of bourbon and angel dust.


Born: Brussels, Belgium

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Ignatz was the name of a mouse from the celebrated prewar cartoon strip Krazy Kat by George Herman, and now it is also the name of a solo project of Brussels-based artist and musician Bram Devens. Working alone with only his guitar, a number of effects pedals, and an occasional digital loop, Devens creates tense and hypnotic music that is half song and half soundscape, rooted in ancient blues and folk traditions but wrapped in so many layers of distortion that the results barely sound human at all....
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II, Ignatz
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