Monday, 21 May 2018
László Hortobágyi, György Kurtág Jr & Miklós Lengyelfi - Kurtágonals (2009)
This is the album in question, and it was recorded by three Hungarians who collectively go under the name Hortagonals, although the group name appears only in the liner notes. Whether that was to avoid confusion with the album title, or that using the contributing artists' names up front is closer to ECM convention, dunno, and it doesn't really matter. What does matter is the 71 minutes of dark electronic brilliance cooked up here by composer György Kurtág Jr (b. 1955, avant-garde credentials obvious straight away from his name, came up through IRCAM in the 80s), "transglobal" composer László Hortobágyi (b. 1950, and a major scholar of Indian music) and bassist Miklós Lengyelfi (b. 1955, with his roots in folk music).
The centrepiece of Kurtagonals is arguably the 38-minute stretch that takes in its three longest pieces - the self-explanatory Kurtagamelan, which feels like it's only missing a hooded and bearded Jhonn Balance moaning over the top; the more soundtracky Interrogation; and the more explicitly beat-driven drones, pads and micro-details of Lux-Abbysum. After this, we get a bit of uneasy respite in Dronezone, one of quite a few tracks here that made me imagine Chris and Cosey hunched over laptops (anyone heard his new solo album yet? I've been a bit lazy picking it up), and the possibly weakest but still hugely enjoyable track Kurtaganja. A couple of nice short tracks wind up this brilliant album, which sadly appears to have been The First and Final Report of Hortagonals - shame there aren't loads more to dig deep into.
mega / zippy