Monday, 21 May 2018

László Hortobágyi, György Kurtág Jr & Miklós Lengyelfi - Kurtágonals (2009)

If I could count the number of times I've said to fans of reunion-era Throbbing Gristle / X-TG / Carter-Tutti / late-period Coil that there's an ECM album they should pick up at the first opportunity, as they'd pretty much be fans of it from the word go - that would be precisely... once.

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

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this, I'm listening to it right now.

    I have very much enjoyed the new Chris Carter so far. It tends towards the more pleasurably conventional end of his recordings. The pieces are short, so this might be scraps from the editing room floor punched up into shape, but I like how the whole thing comes together.

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    1. Nice one, cheers. Carter's scraps beat most circuit-benders' gold in my book! Seems like such a nice bloke too, it's def on my bucket list to meet him & Cosey, even just for a few minutes.

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  2. Thanks for this. Once more a new experience in music. It is really exciting.

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  3. by the way, anyone looking for more by this guy:
    http://bleakbliss.blogspot.com/2018/04/laszlo-hortobagyi-transreplica-meccano.html
    http://bleakbliss.blogspot.com/2018/04/laszlo-hortobagyi-ritual-music-of-fomal.html

    it's all good!

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    1. Nice one, ta! Thought I'd possibly seen Hortobagyi's name mentioned before, may well have been from browsing BB.

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  4. This is wonderful, thankyou!

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  5. Whoa! Thanks! So stoked for this one!

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