Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8

Peter J. Lang - Budapest Week (2000-03-16)

Rave this nation

Althought it is still got a long way to go, Budapest is catching the techno wave that is been sweeping across the West. The new crop of DJs gets rave reviews from Peter J. Lang

Straddiling the blue Danube, Budapest offers the audiophile a wide selection of superlative music. Whether classical, jazz or rock, the quality of music compares favorably with that of any world metropolis. But where is the dance music? A year and a half ago, two newly arrived westerners on theri first promenade through Budapest were confronted by a multitude of large, trippy posters for a dance party at a place called the E-Klub. Smiles crossed their faces while visions of techno music and ecstasy danced in their heads. Alas, these smiles were not to last as they discovered that Budapest lacked serious dancemusic and the "E" stood not for the wonder drug but for ELTE university. Now things have changed. For the summer of 94 brought not only tulips but also techno dance music to bloom in Budapest. Evolved from acid house and influenced by numerous sources, techno can be divided into three different types: pure techno, trance and ambient. Like those who dance to it, pure techno knows no speed limit; it is hard, fast, aggressive and relentless. With its simple floating atmospheres and "spece" or "aquatic" effects, ambient represents the opposite end of the spectrum; it is used essentially as a break between harder dance music or for a post-rave chill out. The broadest category, and where the most creative music is being produced, is trance, mixing a driving dance beat and deep bass with elements such as tribal chants, environmental effects or a keyboard melody which rises until it is beyond the range of the human ear. Structurally, it emulates the best classical or jazz music: there is a simple opening, then many disparate elements are introduced. For DJ Michael Mantrax, it is "holy music". Born in New York and based in Vienna, Mantrax has spun over the last seven years in some of Europes best clubs, as well as in the Far East, and worked raves beside such techno legends as Frankfurts Sven Vath. Each Thursday he travels from Vienna with his box of records to play at the Bangkok Hilton, located near Déli station. "Techno is definitely catching on here; people are getting heavier into this music and moving away from the stand-around type of disco scene," says Mantrax. Comparing the scene here to that in Western Europe he replies, "it is like comparing a Mercedes and a Trabant." Perhaps the best groove in Budapest is currently being played by the Hungarian DJ-team tadeus&titus. The two met and began DJ-ing on Tilos Radio three years ago, started playing clubs a year ago and only a few months ago began to work together and organize raves with the help of another friend. Their first occured in a rented gymnasium in the Orczy Kert in April and in a very loud way announced the presence of real techno. "Over the last year, it has slowly grown and gathered momentum," affirms Titus. Unlike Mantrax, who is a "traditional" DJ in that he only uses turntables and a mixer, tadeus&titus use whatever they can find on their tri-weekly jaunts around Budapest for music. They utilize CDs, tapes, records as well as rented sound effect equipment, in the creation of their "hypnotic trance" atmospheres. Since the Orczy Kert there has been, if not a flood, a steady shower of techno events. On May 14, another rave occured at an indoor swimming pool in Kispest where Mantrax worked the turntables for all they could give. Two weeks later, Dj Lucky organized an outdoor rave in an empty swimming pool on the Tungsgram Strand just north of Budapest. And on the following weekend, tadeus&titus were back, along with DJ Fatman, hosting a party on top of the Annahegy in somewhat sour-smelling, primitive-looking söröző. Each event has received a strong turnout of sunglass-wearing, arm flailing, perpetually-dancing worshippers of this music.Although some have no doubt partaken of some form of narcotic sacrament, (generally speed or acid, as ecstasy is usually out of their price range) there is a natural freedom and joy in these mostly Hungarian congregations. Unlike the techno-idioten in Germany, who tend to be stiff and unsmiling, the ravers in Budapest are truly devoted, drawn not to be part of the scene, but by the music. In addition to the large, traditional-style raves mentioned above, techno has found its way into a multitude of clubs, and the majority of it seems to collide on thursday night. In addition to the Bangkok Hilton, the Viking Club and Saigon both choose Thursday as their weekly techno night. Other venues hosting the occasional techno party have included FMK, Total Car and Labyrinturn, a club in the bowels of the Castle Hill. Check the listings.

taken from Budapest Week