Sometimes or, rather, very occasionally, music will land at my place that rises above the shitstream so majestically and powerfully that I’m not only reminded of what it was that initially drew me to this art-form to begin with but also captivated to the point all those forever nudging doubts about it are turned completely upside-down fucking instantly. Of course, there’s a heap of material that plops before me that’s okay, and it’s unfortunate we live in times when even okay can be enough to sustain its worth, but the days are few and far between when I’ll place something on my hi-fi that’ll send my spine into spasms so sharp and hard the mind can do little else but succumb accordingly.
Zsolt Sőrés, a Hungarian musician based in Budapest, is somebody whose performance in Krakow I unfortunately missed last year but somehow, luckily, managed to meet anyway. Typical to such situations, we got talking over a few beers and found ourselves healthily stuck on the very subject that had brought us together to begin with: music. Which is precisely why, a series of email exchanges later, Sőrés’ latest work ended up within my grasp. Having only previously heard a few glimpses of it over the ‘net, I have to confess I wasn’t fully prepared for it, either. Spread over two discs, themselves each dedicated to parts 1 and 2, we are treated to some of the most amazing journeys into transcendental or near-mystical ur-sound I’ve personally heard in a long while, themselves referencing Fourier's Harmonian Opera and some quotations by Hakim Bey. Commencing with a cut that plays around with what may or may not be traditional folk music from the Balkans blended with sinewy electro-acoustic touches vaguely reminiscent of some of Swiss duo Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock’s forever enticing Dadaist antics, it very quickly becomes apparent that Sores’ music at once appears poised for that area where the sensibilities of the outsider remain rooted in a salubrious respect for more standard forms. This itself becomes a recurring theme throughout the rest of the music, whereby a tendency towards a decidedly avant-strained take on tradition and established form takes possession. Not an idea in itself that is new, of course, given that groups such as AMM, Can and even early Pink Floyd explored similar themes, but Zsolt thankfully avoids falling into those same spaces through what appears to be a very personal engagement.
What comes across as the rest of the music unfolds is its sheer scope, too. From cuts that combine tranced-out rhythms the like of which have rarely been witnessed since the Taj Mahal Travellers with tidal waves of Lee Ranaldo-esque guitar to others where minimal piano melodies are allowed to twist and shimmer like phantoms in the moonlight or where murky moodiness is angled into more threatening shapes, The Harmonian Blues feels like an album whose rich abundance of ideas is both all-encompassing and measured enough to retain some of that all important mystery I personally believe is imperative to better music (a subject in itself I should expand on at some point, I think). Nothing is superfluous or outstays its welcome, and everything slides together organically yet never strays from the objective. On one hand, it’s impressive for its purity and, on the other, the very fact it expresses so much via often minimal and simplistic means really cannot fail to pull the listener helplessly in. If Zsolt is exploring voids of his own making, which is precisely how things appear, then there are fair less worthy currents one could allow themselves to be snagged by…