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László Hortobágyi - Ritual Music Of Fomal Hoot Al-Ganoubî CD (album) cover


László Hortobágyi


Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

3.25 | 5 ratings

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3 stars Spicy

The road towards a specific record can be somewhat strange from time to time. Take this Hungarian obscurity for instance: Once back in the days of my early teens, I played a lot of tennis and became so good at it, that I was hired for the junior national team. Yeah well then I learned about beer and parties, and everything kind of went south from there... Meanwhile, and in regards to this album, back then my favourite coach who was this fantastic Swede who was into Ozzy Osbourne and stuff like that, had himself this lovable Dalmatian called Laszlo. Jump forward 15 years and I spot this Hungarian artist ornamenting the top releases of the Indo Prog/Raga Rock section - and I was hooked. (The front cover of a certain Max Ernst painting didn't exactly turn me off either.)

Topping this rather crazy and meaningless choice off, László Hortobágyi (LH from now on - I´m not typing that again!) is some kind of East European guru on Indian and Moslem music - traditional as well as mixing the two together into these strange, and to some I guess, somewhat heretic pieces of modern music. In addition to that this guy has written books and theory sheets - plus musical IT systems about whatever strange and exotic sonic sequences exist inside the aforementioned musics. He is also a teacher and plays just about anything you can think of in terms of tablas, sitars, all kinds of synths and keyboards - together with an abnormal amount of instruments that are as unknown to most of us - as a hamburger with cheese is to a Buddhist monk from Bhutan.

The music on this album is quite simply as eclectic as can be. One huge melting pot of differentiating ingredients - spanning from ancient Hungarian folk music to Indian ragas, great big Middle Eastern violin sweeps as well as modern day 90s dance music and a bizarre type of RIO that somehow has escaped me completely previously to this listening experience.

Let's start with the most weird here, which has got to be the RIO one. Täriqa is the track's name and just like the other tunes on this offering, you get these eschewed male yodelling emanations you often hear in Mosques swooping all over the piece like a flock of intoxicated swallows. On Täriqa the vocals just seem stricter and more concise - reminding me of the type of singing you'll get from some of the Italian RIO groups such as Opus Avantra and Stormy Six. The track in itself is one of the more interesting here, and I really like the arrangement of the whole thing. Then we've got the 90s dance flavour of Awrâd-I Abbâ Thulle, that wields an uncanny early Prodigy meets The Orb kind of vibe. This foundation is mixed together in a blender with soaring Moslem singing and all these snake-charmer woodwinds and male choral outbursts. It is funky, danceable and the word unique doesn't even begin to describe the feel of the music.

These are just two of the tracks here, and I can safely say that the experience of Ritual Music Of Fomal Hoot Al-Ganoubî keeps on delivering along these lines. It is truly a melting pot of all kinds of exotic folk musics - be that Arabian, Indian, East European and everything in between. All of this is served up nicely with vegetables and potatoes - ie electronic programming and other such computer shadings, and it is here that I personally find this album slightly lacking in density and presence. I don't know if this has got anything to do with it being performed solely by LH, but either way there is just something a tad fishy about the deep end of the sound spectrum. Personally I would have loved to hear this album infused with a huge asskicking of double bass together with a proper electronics wizard behind the computer stuff, but that is just my preference though...

Other than those small gripes, I have only praise about the music, and I heartily recommend this album to anyone who's interested in music with lots of spices. I can just imagine listening to LH on some beach in Goa - drinking mango juice whilst looking at palm trees and towering statues of elephant deities.

Guldbamsen | 3/5 |


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