Right when TOM MALMENDIER and DIRK SERRIES are playing a few shows together again, Ken Waxman of JAZZWORD reviewed their 2020 duo debut ‘VANGUARD’. Available here and here.

“Probing the immensity of percussion textures is Belgian drummer Tom Malmendier, propelling resonances that range from the unexpected to the unforeseen. Cordially stroking parts of a regular kit on Vanguard, he’s paired with another unconventional player Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries. Serries is an accomplished participant in sessions with players as different as Colin Webster and Asmus Tietchems. Throughout this CD he often strikes the strings of his acoustic guitar in a fashion that he could be heard using a resonating National steel guitar favored by 1930s Blues singers. As he slashes and skins his strings Malmendier responds with crunches, ruffs and cymbal buzzes. Except for a few brief sequences when the interaction stabilizes into downy percussion rubs and string stopping, elaboration is based on how efficiently metallic idiophone pressure can challenge and accompany wound string twangs and frails. As the guitarist work up and down his strings on the title track, for instance, drum pops and bangs fill in the background until string slides lead to a spectacular display of bottleneck-like reverb and single-string plucks up against scratches on unyielding percussion objects. Picking up the narrative, the subsequent “Coded Ideal” is both heavier and thinner. Reverberating idiophone buzzing and thumping screeches alongside twangs so thick that notes seem to detach from the guitar. Later both player’ lines shatter into atom-sized noises.” Jazzword – Canada