A Guide to Artists Making Budapest’s Music Scene Special
Today EB lands in Budapest for a huge festival that features international stars like Howling, Âme and Nina Kraviz. We also scoured the Hungarian capital for local heroes to support the headliners and found that the city is rife with sonic talent, so we figured the time was ripe to create an overview of its current creative landscape.
There are a few things you’ll notice about this guide to Budapest’s music scene, which includes labels and promoters as well as individual artists. The first is that a lot of our selections played at this year’s UH Fest, an experimental festival that took place in the city a few weeks ago. We learned about a lot of local from going there because UH makes a point of booking a lot of local talent. The second thing you might notice is that many of the artists below have a penchant for lo-fi textures or for minimal, glitchy computer bleep soundscapes, as those seem to be popular styles in the Hungarian capital. We had a lot of trouble narrowing this list down to ten musicians, so we created an eleventh pick that’s a list-within-a-list of artists who we couldn’t choose between and who all deserve a listen.
It makes sense to start an overview of Budapest’s local musicians with Farbwechsel because this blog-turned-label/collective seems to be the city’s most prominent and established entity. If we listed each artist that belongs to the crew individually, they’d take up the whole list. EB has already hosted mixes from some of its most successful members, including S. Olbricht, who founded Farbwechsel with his SILF co-producer Alpár, Imre Kiss and Route 8, and we’ve booked them to play at some of our main concerts and partner events at the EB Festival in Budapest this weekend. The Farbwechsel vibe applies fuzzy aesthetics to house formats, and it has won over trendy labels from abroad like Lobster Theremin (who scooped up several Farbwechsel members and released Imre Kiss’s debut LP this week), Opal Tapes and Gang of Ducks.
We could have included two-man improvisational band 12z (AKA Bálint Szabó and Márton Kristóf) in Farbwechsel’s tab because they had a self-titled record, [onetwozed], on the label in 2013. But we got the sense that they’ve become a standalone entity, as they’ve since established closer ties to Nicolas Jaar’s Other People imprint than Farbwechsel. OP recently released 12z’s Freefall Inspirations, and rumour has it that something else is in the works.
Unknown Child is a desolate singer-songwriter project by Erika Szurcsik. In addition to some books and prints, she made an album as part of her work at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts that harnesses lo-fi aesthetics to create spooky covers of Bruce Springsteen and absorbing ambient soundscapes. On the other end of the spectrum, she also fronts an indie punk band called Gustave Tiger. You can catch her solo act this weekend at one of our partner events at the Telep Gallery. Click here for more info.
NIGHTDRIVE X BOUNCE
It’s kind of cheating to save space by putting NIGHTDRIVE and BOUNCE together because they’re separate organisations, but it does make sense because they often work together. NIGHTDRIVE is a twice-monthly party run by resident DJs NakedKool, Zovek, Eirik and Headshotboyz, who have brought the likes of Liberations Technologies’ Lukid, Night Slugs boss Bok Bok and soulful house star Seven Davis Jr. BOUNCE has brought out dreamy/groovy American house producers like Patricia, Maximillion Dunbar and Hashman Deejay and also runs a label called 8OUNCE, and you can listen to one of its recent releases in the embed above. Together, the two promoters have teamed up on parties with techno outsider Madteo and R&S alum Lone. Their next collaborative event takes place on October 22 with LIES bros Terekke and Greg Beato.
Although the SoundCloud profile says Sally Hayes, we found the link on the Facebook event page for the UH Demo night under the moniker voLondS. As of post time, she’s only got 10 followers but we really like what we hear: tiny sketches of computer chirps and burbles. She’s the artist featured in the cover photo, which was found on UH Fest’s Facebook and taken by Gergely Csatári.
At UH this year, Sőrés brought weird and often unlistenable sounds out of a violin and what looked like some kind of modular setup. He approaches instruments in a way that’s reminiscent of our recent guide to creating unconventional music, which is to say that he doesn’t use them the way he’s “supposed” to. He’ll lie a violin on its back and torture the strings with his fingers or bow on the wrong side of the bridge until the hairs fall off. He works with a lot of different artists, including some who we’ve included in the honourable mentions tab; for instance, he works with Akós Nagy and Bálint Baráth on Tilos Rádió’s the “No Wave” program.
Dányi Krisztina’s morningdeer project fits in nicely with the lo-fi electroacoustic bedroom musician scene that’s apparently thriving in Budapest. Her weirdo pop places pitched vocals over meandering guitar melodies, which she performs live with Bálint Bolcsó (who has his own cool solo project), András Halmos and Marcell Gyányi.
Zsófia Németh’s work as Piresian Beach recalls bands who tortured hippie rock into post-Charles Manson free noise nightmares, sorta like the LA Free Music Society and Velvet Underground. So it’s pretty sick.
Local electronica band Iamyank displayed their expertise and flexibility in a clever advertisement for our festival that ran on Hungarian news-oriented website 444.hu. In it, the frontman improvises different kinds of beats so that users can identify what style of music he’s playing. When left to their own devices, Iamyank displays a talent for precise and jittery percussion with emotive melodic touches. You can catch the live band at our concert at Akvarium on Saturday, October 17. More information on that here.
We saved Gábor Lázár for last (before the honourable mentions) because he seems to stand alone in some way. While other Budapest musicians channel shoegaze-y moods or minimal computer aesthetics, Lázár marches to the beat of his own drum, which is often quite a hard beat to follow. His music has appeared several times on Boomkat’s impeccable Death Of Rave imprint and involves jewel-bright stabs assembled in polyrhythmic crazy time signature mindfucks. RIYL Mark Fell, with whom he collaborated on an insanely good LP, or Lorenzo Senni, a fellow member of the SHAPE project.