Tibor Szemzö

Invisible Story

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In over a little more than a decade, Hungarian composer Tibor Szemzö successfully managed to create for himself a unique niche in music, somewhere between rock, ambient, contemporary classical, and avant-garde, while not truly belonging to any of those categories. Invisible Story, a cycle of songs on texts by Hungarian philosopher Béla Hamvas, shows how much his "sound" has become both distinctive and limited. The title of this CD comes from Hamvas' first published collection of essays (1943), from which "Aquarius," the basis of this album, is taken. Szemzö's soft-spoken voice recites excerpts from the text (in Hungarian -- English translations are provided in the booklet) over a laid-back, often repetitive musical background. Instrumentation includes organ, synthesizers, sequenced percussion and basslines, flute, guitar, real drums, and turntables, performed by the composer and the Gordian Knot Company. Only a few of these are heard at the same time, except in "Idea and Evestrum," the only track to take off in a clear rock direction. The constant recitation imposes a tone which evacuates the delicate poetry found in the instrumental pieces of the 1997 CD Relative Things. On the other hand, the organically hypnotic quality of Szemzö's longer works (The Other Shore, Snapshot From the Island) cannot translate into these short pieces. Nevertheless, it remains a nice album, if not the ultimate Szemzö creation. Newcomers might find in Invisible Story something new and exciting, but seasoned fans have to struggle with a feeling of déjà vu. The CD includes a five-minute movie of "The Crowd" (live video footage blended with an archival film).

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