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