Opex: new Arno album hits the shelves


Fans of Belgian singer Arno Hintjens can rejoice: a new Arno album, Opex, has hit the shelves.

Opex is a posthumous release, going back to where it all started for the Ostend singer, that is to say the blues.

The new album is a family affair; especially the song I’m Not Gonna Whistle, the last song on the ten-track album. Arno’s brother Peter Hintjens lays down the saxophone and the singer’s son Felix is also to be heard on the track, as well as on La Vérité, the new album’s opening song.

Arno’s grandfather also appears on the album, in a different kind of way: the sixth song, aptly named Mon Grand-père (‘My Grandfather’) is about him.

As the album goes back to Arno’s roots, when it comes to the blues and to his family, so too does it return to the place where he was born, specifically Ostend. The album’s title, Opex, is a local name for the neighbourhood in Ostend around the lighthouse; it is named for the firm that was hired to build a new neighbourhood, an acronym for Ostende Phare et Extension (Ostend lighthouse and extension).

Besides Arno’s solo work, he was also known for his role in the groups Freckleface, Tjens Couter and TC Matic, all groups including his right-hand man Paul Couter. Arno’s characteristic raspy voice led to some people referring to him as The Belgian Tom Waits.

Arno Hintjens passed away on 23 April 2022, at the age of 72, but his voice and music live on through his body of work.