SNAP #2 (The Other Shore & Cuba) – new vinyl

Tibor Szemző is presenting two compositions on his new album Snap #2 –  The Other Shore and the first release of his CUBA.

As the title implies, Snap #2 can be considered a sequel to his cult album Snapshot from the Island (released in 1987, 2000 and 2020). In that first album the island was a metaphor for isolation and now Snap #2 offers Szemző’s reflections of his visits to real islands, Cuba in 1988-1990 and Japan in 1992-1994. As usual, Tibor Szemző processed the themes both visually and musically and has presented them many times live as cinematographic performances.

The previous version of The Other Shore was released in 1999 on CD. On this album the original recording from 1997 is used; it has been recomposed, remixed and remastered and some additional recordings have been included. The core of Szemző’s Gordian Knot ensemble of the mid-nineties (Tibor Szemző on bass flute, Péter Magyar on drums and Tamás Tóth on bass guitar) has been enlarged by a string section and additional percussionists. The Other Shore composition has a multilayered texture; it starts with strings and is followed by prerecorded voices reciting the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law (Myôhô-Renge-Kyô in Japanese), the most important sutra of Mahayana Buddhism. Then percussion introduces the basic beat of the piece and the voice of the 102 year-old Buddhist priest Ônishi Ryôkei giving a lecture on Kannon sutra is heard. The following uneven entries of drums and bass guitar are like paint brush strokes in Zen calligraphy. The long tones of Szemző’s bass flute enters the piece as the last element suggesting itself as a connecting thread through all previous layers.

When Tibor Szemző first visited Cuba in 1988 he had just started shooting film on 8mm, something of a personal diary. When he met Jonas Mekas in Budapest a few years later, he realized that this footage could be screened publicly and also be an integral part of live performances. CUBA, presented on the Snap #2 album, is the recording from 2000 of one such performance and was remixed by the author in 2021. It is as similar to and yet different from The Other Shore. The Gordian Knot band seemingly structures the piece in the same way, but the resulting sound is much heavier especially thanks to drummer Péter Magyar. Nevertheless, the contributions of Szemző on bass flute, Mihály Huszár on electric bass and T. Bali on prepared electric guitar also inject the proper rock sting. Incorporated Havanna street sounds and local radio broadcasts recorded by the author provide even more steamy roughness to the sound of Szemző’s CUBA.

The cover design of the Snap #2 album with photo reproductions from Szemző’s films reflects the aesthetics of the Snapshot from the Island album.

This vinyl LP runs at 45 RPM for better sound quality.

Alexandr Krestovský


The Gordian Knot Company
Ildikó Fodor – violine, Fruzsina Jaán – viola, Mariann Pleszkán – cello
people of the Kyoto Kiyomizu-dera temple – recitation
Péter Magyar – drums, István Pápai – maracas, Marcell Benkő – congas
Tamás Tóth – bass guitar
Ônishi Ryôkei – voice
Tibor Szemző – bassflute

recorded at HEAR Studio, 17th December 1997 by István Horváth
remix and additional recording at Fodderbasis, May-June 2021 by the author

literary sources
Myôhô-Renge-Kyô, the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law, Chapter XXV
fragments from the lecture on Kannon-Kyô by the Buddhist priest Ônishi Ryôkei

special thanks to Márton B. Balogh

TIBOR SZEMZŐ:   CUBA     10:31   [45 RPM]

The Gordian Knot Company
Péter Magyar – drums
Mihály Huszár – electric bass
T. Bali – prepared electric guitar
Radio Reloj [Cuba] – voices
Tibor Szemző – bassflute

Havanna street sounds and Radio Reloj recorded by the author, December 1989 – January 1990.

live performance at MU Theatre, Budapest, 20th October 2000
recorded and mixed by Zoltán Regenye Regi at HSB Studio, Dunakeszi 2000
remix at Fodderbasis, May-June 2021 by the author

István Szelényi

author’s publication

© & ℗   Tibor Szemző 1989-2021
all right seserved

cover photo reproduction by László Lugó
from the film CUBA (1993) by Tibor Szemző

cover design by György Pálfi

ARBO X – 12″ VINYL – limited edition

Csoma Grooves
Fodderbasis – FOB 65

Tibor Szemző is not only a skillful and experienced Hungarian musician but also a media artist with a vast imagination. His last LP, ARBO X – Csoma Grooves, refers to his full-length film A Guest of Life released in 2006, for which he not only directed but also composed all the music. The film is inspired by the life of Alexander Csoma de Körös, a remarkable polyglot from the 19th century who set out from his native Transylvania to central Asia on foot to look for the roots of the Hungarian language. He reached Tibet, dedicated the rest of his life to study of Tibetan manuscripts and finally became the founder of tibetology. After 14 years Tibor Szemző decided to explore the theme further and composed the cinematic performance, Silverbird and the Cyclist, where he as narrator presented the story of Csoma from a different perspective.

ARBO X is the music from this performance and it is based on the soundtrack of the original movie but the material has been restructured and enhanced by new layers. There are fourteen relatively short tracks on the album and each of them has a very specific character, sometimes mysterious as the titles of the tracks themselves. Their arrangement is ingeniously composed. Szemző’s typical bass flute and voice with percussion accompaniment on the first track Axis is a very impressive introduction to the whole album. The following tracks build up a series of colorful sound parables, which are in no way descriptive. Every element, whether it’s a double bass, viola, soprano voice, vocal trio or electronics, fits perfectly within the overall sound fabric with effective timing. Listening to ARBO X one unwittingly concentrates on interweaving details without loosing the sense of the whole. It’s certainly a great benefit, as in previous recordings, that most of the musicians participating in the recording of ARBO X are very familiar with Szemző’s music and his collaboration with some of them goes back to Group 180, a new music ensemble he founded in 1978 and soon earned international acclaim. This most recent album belongs among a long line of recordings that Tibor Szemző has released during his musical career and displays great compositional complexity and a keen sense of a perfectly balanced sound spectrum.

Alexandr Krestovský


A1. Axis 3:03
A2. Onsets 1:35
A3. Astound 2:14
A4. Forgotten Light 2:16
A5. Mila Interlude 1:00
A6. Methuselah Soft 2:57
A7. On, and Up to the Attic 3:48

B1. Wondrous 1:17
B2. Sparśa 3:29
B3. Djabrasax 1:14
B4. Ganga Row 5:23
B5. Arboo Interlude 0:59
B6. Gambla 2:30
B7. Place of Safety 2:07

The Gordian Knot Company
Voces Aequales Ensemble

Tibor Szemző – 8mm-phone, bassflute, voice (A1, A3, B2, B5)
Ernst Hirschberg – keyboards (A1, A5, A6, A7, B1, B4, B6)
Tamás Geröly – gardon (A1, B7)
Alois Samson – wind controller (A1, B1, B2, B4, B5, B7)
Ildi Fodor – soprano voice (A2, B4, B5, B7)
Laca Kéringer – tenor voice (A2, B2, B4, B5, B7)
Mihály Huszár – electric double bass, bass guitar (A2-A4, A7, B2, B4, B6, B7)
Zsombor Dudás – drums and percussions (A2, A3, B2, B5, B7)
Keresteš Szabolcs – piano, celesta (A2-A4, B2, B4, B5, B7)
Lama Lobsang Gedun – recitation (A2, B7)
T. Bali – electric guitar (A2, A3, A5, A7, B1, B2, B4, B7)
László Gőz – basstrumpet, sea shells (A3, A7, B4)
Zsigmond Lázár – violin (A3)
Bálint Pödör – udu (A4)
István Grencsó – tenor saxophone (A4, B3, B7)
Zoltán Gavodi [Voces Aequales] – countertenor voice (A5, A6)
Csaba Gyulai [Voces Aequales] – tenor voice (A5, A6)
Zoltán Mizsei [Voces Aequales] – baritone voice (A5, A6)
Éva Posvanecz – viola (A7, B6)
Lobsang Dhamchoe – voice (B1)
The sounds of the River Ganga (B4)

Alois Samson – Fodderbasis
István Horváth – HEAR Studio
László Hortobágyi – Tharnox Studio
Zoltán Regenye Regi – HSB Mobile Studio (India)
Károly Liszkai – Studio RH
Tamás Zányi – Saint Audio
János Mazura – Ethnofon Studio
Károly Göllner – CPT Mures Mobile Studio
Viktor Szabó – BMC

István Szelényi

Tibetan Book of the Dead (A2, B7)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Trilogy of Passion – To Werther (A5)
Milarepa (B1)

Special thanks to Iván Angelus and Zoltán Kőrösi

Author’s publication

© & ℗ Tibor Szemző 2002-2021
all right seserved

Cover design and drawings Zsófia Szemző

CSOMA – Live at the stage of A38 Ship, M2 Petőfi TV [Hungary]

25 March 2020 Wednesday 23:19 • M2 Petőfi TV [Hungary]
Live at the stage of A38 Ship, Budapest [19 January 2020]

The Fodderbasis presents
C S O M A by Tibor Szemző & László Sári
– cinematic concert, album-presentation

László Kéringer – voice
László Gőz – bass trumpet, sea shells
Tibor Szemző – narrator
Zoltán Regenye Regi – sound design

The music and the vinyl is avalable at Bandcamp

Tibor Szemző: CSOMA – album-presentation concert, A38 Ship, Budapest

cinematic concert at A38 Ship

Alexander Csoma set up to research the origin of the Hungarians 200 years ago. Szemző’s Cinematic Opera, the “Csoma” was premiered in Budapest 10 years ago. The present 12” vinyl is the re-summary of this composition.
Szemző Tibor: CSOMA – lemezbemutató koncert/vynil presentation concert
W. W. Hunter on Csoma

The poor scholar was one of the 19th century’s great, original pioneers. To the scholars of his century Csoma was an obscure, Transylvanian figure, abandoned among the Himalayan hills—however, from the summits a giant cast its shadow on Central Asia.

Fodderbasis presents
Tibor Szemző – László Sári: C S O M A – cinematic concert

László Kéringer – voice
László Gőz – bass trumpet, sea shells
Tibor Szemző – narrator
Zoltán Regenye Regi – Sound design

On the 200th anniversary we wish to pay tribute to Alexander Csoma with this new LP and a cinematic concert, the stage version of the higly successful award-winning film “A Guest of Life – Alexander Csoma de Kőrös”.