Bálint Szabó’s artistic focus is based on different musical tuning systems like non-Western tunings or just intonation. His work is heavily influenced by ethnography, ethnomusicology and cultural diversity. His records came out on Niclas Jaar’s Other People label and on Stephen Bishop’s Opal Tapes.
The debut record of his solo project Gosheven was selected as “Album of The Year 2017” by the prestigious The Wire magazine. He has performed at festivals like Donaufestival, Pohoda Festival, Nextones, Avant Art Festival, Musikprotokoll, Biennale Nemo, Zemlika Festival, Schiev Festival etc. With his new project Decolonize Your Mind Society he presents his just intonation compositions with acclaimed jazz musicians. Their debut LP was released in October 2020.
This year, Gosheven presents his third studio record Antipodal Polyphony, a work inspired by the ‘Are’are panpipe ensembles from the Solomon Islands, as a heartfelt homage to that vanishing culture. The record’s international debut concert will be premiered at Out.Fest as part of the REMAIIN programme, a project that aims to investigate the influence of non-western cultures in European experimental music.
1. Cultural diversity have been declining for a long time.
2. Multiplication of diversity is the task of us all.
3. Fragility is at the heart of all things.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Nature, windsurfing, astronomy, ethnomusicology, ethnography.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I studied classical guitar at the age of 7, but my musical interest intensified from the year 2012. Since then music is my main focus.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
For me it’s easier to tell what I have listened a lot in recent times.
Nick Cave: Ghosteen
Morton Feldman: Piano and String Quartet
Solomon Islands: ‘Are’are Panpipe Ensembles (collected by Hugo Zemp)
Connan Mockasin: Jassbusters
Jon Hassell: Aka Darbari Java
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
I stayed there a lot with my partner when we got to know each other. Love the analog photo booths, music festivals, film festivals, bars, have a lot of friends there, and last but not least the European centre of just intonation music seems to be there as well… :)
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
My balcony from where I take photos of the local fauna and the stars/planets.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I could still listen to sounds around me, and that is also fascinating. Maybe I would be an astrophysicist or meteorologist.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik’s CD inside his amazing book entitled “Theory of African Music”.
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
I used to work as music curator at Trafo House of Contemporary Arts. The most memorable concert I organised there was Dean Blunt’s, that was huge!
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s completely essential. If you want to make something new, technology should always be at your hands.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have two sisters, both of them are really supportive.
Photo © Rebeka Racz