The Flemish Isbin is a musician extraordinaire. Throughout his long career, he plays and thinks beyond genres. Sometimes you can call him an avant-garde jazz or improvising musician, but then again he appears with a CD or group in which worldly sounds play the leading role. Or with a CD full of Nick Drake covers. That was on guitar.
In recent years Isbin switched to the lute. On this instrument he has now been discovered by the incrowd. Isbin is not a classical lute player. You could rather describe him as an avant-gardist, because his compositions are not tied to styles … and here we go again with the description of this unconventional artist.
You might call Stathis Skandalidis a companion. He is a classically trained guitarist from Rhodes, who is also a lute player. He recorded 23 works composed by Isbin. His technique is fabulous, but his playing is also accessible. Stathis knows how to get out the richness of the instrument – an eight course lute – through the beautiful harmonies. “Everything composed, nothing improvised this time” Isbin wrote in the leaflet accompanying the CD. It is an illustration of how Isbin, apart from unexpected key changes, and original and not obvious note sequences can also create beautiful harmonies and depth into his works.
Do not expect straightforward tunes, but more freely melodies, but with head and tail.
The compositions are from two collections: Harvest and 7 Old Flemish Songs For Solo Lute. And then it’s apparent that the more more known tunes are traditionals like Komt vrienden in de ronde, Het viel een hemels dauwe of Daer zat een sneeuwwit vogeltje. But it wouldn’t be Isbin if he would give them a special treatment. And Skandalidis… he lets shine the compositions as silver water drops.