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László Hortobágyi — Summa Technologiae
(Tone Casualties tccd 9825, 1998, CD)

by Robert Norwood, Published 1999-01-01

Summa Technologiae Cover artWhile not well known in the States, Hungary's László Hortobágyi has for most of the 90s been making some of the most exciting ethno-electronic music available anywhere. Another disc from the "Annals of Gayan Uttejak Society," this is Hortobágyi's first American release, recorded in Budapest, 1994. This shows László continuing his experiments mixing diverse middle-eastern instruments and chanting with electronics, occasionally venturing into the fringes of 90s dance beats. As with previous releases, it's usually hard to tell where the ritual music leaves off and the sequencers take over. There is a lot going on in this music, but not all at once; it is very well put together with few seams showing. The way he mixes different strands together reminds me of John Zorn's Big Gundown, where he uses various musical styles almost as individual instrument voices. While not as groundbreaking as his earlier releases, still a challenging release and much more authentic sounding than many of the "tribal trance" bands. The sounds range from middle-eastern gothic to Transylvainian ambient, making Dead Can Dance and Loop Guru sound like tourists. Get this while it's still available domestically and then you maybe you'll be ready for his even farther out earlier releases (if you can find them), Fomal Hoot and Amygdala.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 16, 1998 releases

Related artist(s): László Hortobágyi

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