This year in Budapest was a quite strange one. It started with a horrible disco accident in January that shocked the country and had long lasting consequences for the city’s party culture. During the year the political and economic crises caused a lot of negative vibes. The closure of cult clubs like the Merlin Theatre and the open air Zöld Pardon also sent out shockwaves. But apart from the bad news, there were still many positive moments to be happy about instead. We’re going to take a look at some of the more exciting moments from throughout the year in our Hungary section.
This year was the 200th anniversary for classic composer Ferenc Liszt (Franz Liszt) but there were also some big anniversaries in electronic music too. Budapest’s underground electronic music community celebrated pioneer DJ and godfather of the scene Palotai‘s 50th birthday through the year on several occasions and Chi Recordings also had reason for celebration as they released a compilation for their 10th anniversary. We interviewed a lot of musicians this year, you liked the most Yonderboi on his return, 9b0 on his work processes, Jaffa Surfa on organic house music, ICR on his milestone double album, Sena on her solo project and emerging talent Mongoose on his career story.
It’s interesting in Budapest that there are only a few good club spaces but several cool nights. Decknology by TEST completed their mission of pioneering the local electronic music scene with the project surviving for only one year. Not like the other future music-oriented night Space Is Called which was started by DJ Cadik and A38 Ship or the new hipster-magnet Selected Sounds by NVC with live acts such as Caribou, Gold Panda, Nosaj Thing. Electronic Beats had also three very successful sold-out gigs, a Live Special Launch Party and a Festival, followed by an EB Presents party. There were so many other highlights that made this year, gigs to remember by Lamb, Jamie Woon, Darkstar and Shigeto on A38 Ship, Kink in Merlin, Eskmo at Balaton Sound, Crystal Castles at Sziget, Xeno & Oaklander in Roham Bar and so on.
And so many other things like the new Blind Musician EP by the continuously changing abstract hip hop formation Realistic Crew, or My Rorschach by Occam, the electronic solo project of drummer of Zagar. There was another great solo debut of eclectic singer Judie Jay with her Harmony LP. Our new discovery is Berlin based Hungarian producer Dnte with his beautiful wonky debut EP Wake Me Up (listen here).
Two more scenes were growing up and started to establish in Budapest’s underground, the lo-fi bedroom producers might have got more attention but there is a ghetto-tech community going strong, too. We’re looking forward to seeing 2012, it will be great!
A chilly autumnal evening in the centre of Budapest was the setting for the latest Electronic Beats festival, and a packed concert hall at Millenaris was as the ideal location for this international meeting of established and breaking talent from around Europe. As the hall began to fill there was a distinctive buzz ,as many knew they were in for something different from the norm and everyone knew that the sold out event would be one of the highlights of Budapest’s musical calendar.
Local talents Realistic Crew represented the Hungarian music scene. Utilizing a mix of live acoustic and electronic music they showed their diverse influences, from broken beats, abstract hiphop and indie. Despite a slightly changed lineup from when they last appeared live, they performed with gusto and warmed the crowd up well.
After a brief break FM Belfast took the stage and really got the party going with their energetic and fun take on indie dance. By the end of their set, which they performed with enthusiasm and verve, the crowd was all hands in the air as they proceeded to strip to their shorts and vests and fire everyone up for the party ahead.
The explosve, raucous force of Does It Offend You, Yeah? took many by surprise as they drove their hard edged electro sound to the limit. With the power of a small tornado, they took us through a stirring rendition of recent material. While not to everyone’s taste, they left an impression that no-one there will easily forget.
Next was one of the highlights of the evening; the long awaited return of Apparat to Hungary, with Apparat Live. The mournful, raw emotive energy of Sascha Ring and his band’s performance truly moved the audience, and by the time they left the stage to rapturous applause, many young couples were in blissful harmony with the highlight for many being their performance of Rusty Nails.
Buraka Som Sistema was the finale of the live performances, and their unique angle on kuduru, best described as Euro-kuduru, with it’s punchy bass really brought the house down. To finish they called a dozen girls on stage to dance as they entertained the crowd with their rousing vocal banter kept the audience going after a long but engaging evening.
With excellent DJ sets from local talents Crimson, Naga & Beta providing the fabric for this exciting tapestry of fine electronic music, this was an evening to be remembered. As the night drew to a close, they streets of Buda filled with excited, if slightly exhausted party goers.