Hungarian producer ICR, aka Zoltan Gal is inextricably linked to the underground electronic music scene of Budapest. As founder of ImpulseCreator he had a great influence on the Hungarian dnb scene, and his online magazine was a starting point of fans of dnb and other bass genres in the last decade. Now that his music is ready to evolve, all eyes should be on his new double album which is a turning point for ICR. ‘The Such Unimportant Things Like Us / To Make Right What’s Left’ is the end of his dnb period and start of a new challenge exploring wonky, dubstep and house.
Your new album will be released on the 26th September on Fokuz. How do you feel about it?
Not so many people know that this is going to be my fifth album. A very long period will be ended with it. On the one hand I say goodbye to my drum and bass career which started in 2003, and on the other hand I’m exploring new fields of music. There are countless examples of dnb producers who turned to slow-tempo styles, and also mid-tempo music styles have effect on each other, like soulful house, garage, dubstep, or wonky. It seems to me that eclecticism is more recognized, and I’m happy with it. On the second part of the LP you can find all of the aforementioned bass music styles, so I think it sounds diverse and fresh.
Which part of your upcoming double album was easier to write: your dnb album The Such Unimportant Things Like Us or the other one To Make Right What’s Left?
In some way The Such Unimportant Things Like Us is the third installment of two previous albums titled Something About Nothing and Between Nowhere And Goodbye, both released at my own Misspent Music label. On these albums I made broken but storytelling dnb tunes. The other, ‘new to me’ sounds were a challenge. They are also very deep, just in a different format.
Tell us about the collaborations on the album! It’s especially exciting that you worked together with Headshotboyz, one of the most refreshing projects from the new Budapest scene.
The Headshotboyz guys changed the direction exactly the same time when I did. They turned from 4/4 to hip-hop. They learned the beat-making process very quickly, so not just in the growing Hungarian hip-hop scene but they also get more and more recognition even on international level. I don’t particularly like working together with anyone, I rather like remixing. So we chose our favorite tracks from each other, and the reworks make up the end section of the album.
Could any part of this double album fit into the underground electronic scene of Budapest?
With a slight exaggeration I could say that they don’t fit neither into its past or present. My music has always been odd, almost no one has played any of them in dnb parties here. However, internationally I’ve got many great responses from London Elektricity, Lynx, Grooverider, Fabio and even Marcus Intalex. With house and other kind of bass music I’m just trying to find my place right now. Now I need to prove that To Make Right What’s Left album has its place, this is my main goal. It feels good that other local professionals already look at me as at a versatile producer, and respect my work.
As a key player what do think about Budapest’s underground electronic music scene?
In the case of Budapest, it’s a very complex issue. Even the ‘underground’ term is irrelevant. There are popular and less popular music, it’s very simple. Today underground has two meanings: either it’s so cool that only 20 people care about it, and they feel themselves special because of it, or it is so cool that every opinion leader and wannabe artist likes it, so if you go there you become cool also. In the Hungarian party culture some general attitudes need to be changed. There really aren’t any defined clubs where music and enjoying music would be the most important thing. However characteristic they might be here, pubs aren’t suitable to revive the party culture. But it’s an even more complicated issue. Despite its negative aspects there are some promising workshops, and great residents and organizer crews who always invite relevant and contemporary artists to play here.
You founded ImpulseCreator, an online magazine and a popular forum of dnb music in Hungary, but what about today when forum isn’t the most fashionable channel?
We celebrated the 12th anniversary of ImpulseCreator (www.drumandbass.hu). We were the primary source of information for the local dnb scene. The huge archives including articles and party photos are public documentation, not to mention it’s influence and power for supporting a community. Now we need to be on trends again, so relaunch is on due.