Boomkat Product Review:
A mesmerising, mystic new age audity from Hungary, 1987 - starring the touch of László Hortobágyi - resurfaces from cult British-Russian jazz label Leo Records after 33 years in the wild - RIYL Suba/Rex Ilusivii, David Toop, Suzanne Kraft
Reissued on the artist’s own label, Fodderbasis, home to a string of recent self-reissues, ‘Snapshot From The Island’ imaginatively trips out into a no-person’s-land of new age ambient and jazz expression, terraforming a highly personalised sonisphere likely to appeal to listeners who like to get their mental boots muddy and seek out long-forgotten peaks of the ‘80s experimental backwoods.
Born in, and working from, Budapest, Tibor Szemző carved out a niche in music for film and installation starting with ‘Snapshot From The Island’; his first solo album and a landmark in the modern Hungarian experimental canon. He’s credited with practically everything you hear, performing its flyaway flutes, reticulated drum machine rhythms and electronics for the most, while another Hungarian legend, László Hortobágyi supplies synth gilding to two of the album’s highlights, as well as recording and mixing the whole thing, which surely places it not far from his own solo work.
The 24’ title track is a panoramic beauty, very gradually emerging like a dawning vista to take in rolling cascade of slow drum machine patter and flutes that gather into echoic ravines and ceremonious, mystic vocal drones, then overgrown with the sound of elephant calls and squally noise murmuration. ‘Water Music’ meanwhile is a minimalist work for tape looped and phasing flutes in a Reichian vein, and ‘Let’s Go Out and Dance’ brings it right down to lushest pastoral jazz terrain with some superbly slinky drum computer work landing not so far from styles you’ll find on International Anthem nowadays.