Róbert Erdész - Meeting point - 2000

"Hungarian world music"


This is a project from Solaris Musics Productions. That's where we know the name Róbert Erdész from. Róbert Erdész is the keyboard-player from the Hungarian band Solaris. But this is not just an album from a keyboard-player. A group of 16 Hungarian musician friends made together an album inspired by Csaba Káel's film about Hungary and it's unique culture. The result is not a prog album but a real Hungarian world music album.


Musicians on this album are:
Márta Sebestyén - vocals, pipes; Zsuzsa Ullmann - vocals; Ildikó Keresztes - vocals; Emil Tóth - vocals; Gyõrgy Demeter - vocals; Gusztáv Bódi Varga - vocals, bass humming, cup; Attila Kollár - flute, pipe, 7-hole flute, tambourine, vocals; János Varga - guitar; Péter Gerendás - acoustic guitar; Ferenc Muck - saxophone; László Gõmõr - drums; Áron Eredics - tambura; Mihály Borbély - tárogató (oboe-like shawm); Batyu (muzsikás) - utõgordon (violincello used as percussion), csujogató (two-line limericks); Tamás Erdész - doromb (mouth harp)

Robert Erdész - synthesizers, samplers, computer programs


When we see this impressive list, three names are familiar to me. János Varga (East, Art Reakter & János Varga Project) who is almost present on every important Hungarian album. Attila Kollár the fantastic flute player of Solaris. And Márta Sebestyén the "world music" star from Hungary. The last name you maybe also know because she was present in the soundtrack of the film "The English patient".

The first track called "Mitocondrial Eve" (3:53) opens in a mysterious way with guitar, keyboards and the voice of Márta Sebestyén. After the intro the electric guitar plays a solo over more programmed synthesiser sounds. The diversity of instruments is big on this album. The second track "Barbaro" (4:36) is more up-tempo at the start but has beautiful melodies with flutes, voices and guitars. The voice of Márta Sebestyén is really unique and gives the music a great atmosphere. The flute is played on a Tullish way like Ian Anderson does. On the third piece "Shaman-celebration" (5:02) the Tull flute and the voice of Sebestyén are again present. The "hey-a-ho" refrain seems childish and Indian to me, but the song is a mix of beautiful atmospheres and that strange vocal refrain. "Gregorian" (4:36) starts with a Gregorian voice but soon Zsuzsa Ullmann starts to sing a great happy melody. There are a lot of vocals on this album, but there is no text. The voice is used as an instrument. In the end you have the urge to sing along with this fantastic melody. "Ritual song" (4:32) goes further with this vocal melody but the instruments are more folkie. Robert Erdész doesn't play solos on his synths but supports the compositions in a great way. He is never in front of the music, but he is still very present with tasteful synth sounds through the whole album. In the next piece "Phantom dance" (2:57) the vocal line is again further developed. Again a cheerful melody. "Our Times…" (3:40) is more ballad like and there is even a sax solo. The vocal part is developing on each track and with every singer in a different way. "Israel" (5:11) is my favourite track; the male voice (Emil Tóth) of the intro is so delicate and beautiful. The several vocalists in this piece are creating a special eastern atmosphere. "Virtual days" (3:03) is completely different, up tempo programmed disco keys. It remembers me of the duo Bel Canto, Anneli M. Drecker's is using here voice in the same manner. ("Shimmering, warm & bright" was Bel Canto's masterpiece). "Liliana" (4:15) has a strange combination of Eastern voices and Spanish acoustic guitars. This combination works great and the guitar solo is very beautiful. In the last song "Present song" (3:58) the sphere of Bel Canto is appearing again in the beginning. This slow song includes a sax and an electric guitar solo.


"Meeting point" is the right name for this interesting album. There are influences not only from Hungary but also from all over the world in my opinion. This is not an album with prog or sympho in a way like Solaris is playing, but a true "world music" album. If your taste goes beyond prog (that's progressive too!) you can discover a whole new world. There are a lot of different atmospheres on this album and it is all done in a delicate way. The voice is very present on this album and shows us that it can be a very diverse "instrument".

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - October 2001 -   - Periferic Records