Boomkat Product Review:
Well overdue reissue of Hungarian musician and film composer János Másik's surrealist 1989 masterpiece "Trance Balance". Psychedelic to a point, it's an edgy melting pot of influences (from Japanese folk to avant electronics) that's certain to prick up the ears of anyone into STROOM, 23 Skidoo, or even Ghost Box.
When "Trance Balance" originally emerged, Hungary was in the midst of a political upheaval that effectively ended four decades of communist rule. The cultural shift that followed is represented succinctly by Másik, who initially released the album on Hungaropop, one of the country's first privately owned, independent labels. Musically, it's defiantly hard to place, jumping from trippy synth surrealism (think Luboš Fišer jamming with Raymond Scott) into fourth world rhythmic pattering ('Woods and Metals'), and from wonked cabaret dance ('Burlesque) all the way to lysergic funk ('Big 7').
The music sharply turns so frequently from track to track that it's hard to really settle it in one area or another. Másik's artistic vision appears to be trained on a world that was up for grabs in 1989, as borders came down and the possibilities felt boundless. So there's a different emphasis on tracks like the Japanese-influenced 'Domo, Domo' than there might be from similar contemporary cross-cultural experimentations from the UK or the US. Másik sounds as if his fascination is rooted in hopeful change, and he links each track with a production skill and methodology that gives "Trance Balance" the coherence it needs for repeat listens.
Far more intriguing than so many rediscovered lost library/electronic beat mines, this one's got serious depth, history and all the idiosyncratic joy you want from an eccentric set of experiments. Recommended.