Boomkat Product Review:
A bit of a stunner, this, from mystic Hungarian composer László Hortobágyi, recorded in 1986 for Hungaropop, and just now resurfacing in its revised 2006 form thanks to the Australia-via-Amsterdam label, Lullabies For Melodies. Worldwide credentials in check, the record also follows a worldly path, consolidating far flung ideas from Hindusthani music, bioastronomy, polynesia polyrhythmia, ancient Bali gamelan, Shruti systems and cathedral design (we could go on, and on) in a manner that defies belief and practically does so in its own sonic language.
Looking on the back cover like a monk who can shoot lasers from his eyes if you disagree with him, Hortobágyi is clearly in possession of some other, supernatural knowledge or power, or at the least he’s definitely done some heavy reading and listening. But, speculation aside, his travels and musical skooling in India since the ‘60s are a concrete source of inspiration for this sound and aesthetic, which, in a classic double refraction of ideas between East-West, is filtered thru and played by the traditional music preservationists, Gáyan Uttejak Orchestra (named after the school of musicologist, V.N. Bhátkhánde) and comes out beautifully altered in translation on Transreplica Meccano.
Noted as a masterpiece of his extensive catalogue, Transreplica Meccano is Hortobágyi’s solo debut. As far as we know, this remastered 2006 revision - previously unissued on any format - is faithful to the 31 years old original; a flying carpet woven from incredibly intricate threads of archaic musical possibility, meshing processed samples with flute, bass, trombone, modular synth, voice and strings and Indian instrumentation such as been, tabla, sitar according to classical Indian instrumental techniques and advanced synthesis.
We can hear certain parallels between this sound and 4th world musics by Hassell, YMO and co, but it’s maybe better compared with the output of Rex Ilusivii, if anyone, who also shared a fascination with Indian music which came out sounding quite futuristic gothic from his Serbian base c. the late ‘80s. We don’t want to say any more for fear of dissolving Transreplica Meccano’s enigma, or cos there’s simply too much going on to properly grasp, but we hope you’ve checked the samples and are also spellbound by now.