‘This has more to do with improvisation and its allied possibilities of transcendence and failure than running up and down 12-bar schemes at lightning speed.’ The Wire
Ignatz is the alter-ego of Bram Devens. With an acoustic guitar and a few effects, he creates his very own style of improvisation-inspired Euro blues.
In 1910, the illustrator George Herriman created the Krazy Kat comic strip. Ignatz, a vicious mouse, was Krazy Kat’s arch enemy, and his favourite pastime was to throw bricks at Krazy Kat’s head (who misinterpreted the mouse’s actions as declarations of love). Belgian artist Bram Devens uses Ignatz as his alter-ego, and comes armed with his own pile of bricks; sparse, emotive songs born of the human condition, wrapped in effects, corroded by tape, driven forth by improvisation and spontaneity.
Ignatz’s songs stem from a familiar stripped folk framework, with Devens’ delivery recalling the louche primitivism of V.U. or Henry Flynt – but these songs sound inverted, cast adrift, their cool touch belying a stymied heat beneath the surface. Where Devens’ fretwork is adorned, it is executed with a refined coarseness. Autonomous loops entwine each other. Songs brush past percussion, bass notes, or a scant keyboard motif. A voice recedes from the heart of the song into a dislocated, cracked drawl.
Apart from working solo, Ignatz plays with his band “de stervende honden” since 2013, after a friend (being tired of Ignatz’s solo concerts) suggested playing with Erik Heestermans and Tommy Denys.