After Crying - Megalázottak És Megszomorítottak


Year of Release: 1992
Label: Quint
Catalog Number: QUI 906014
Format: CD
Total Time: 41:59:00

When I learned that After Crying would be playing at this year's NEARfest, I was quite excited. To describe After Crying in just a few words seems inadequate. To say they are a classically influenced modern rock band, leaves out the ELP influence, the Camel influence (whether intentional or not), the jazz and avant-garde influences, and whatall. Now I won't pretend to be intimately familiar with their entire oeuvre, but I have heard enough thus far to know that I'd very much like to see them live. While the summary or conclusion usually comes at the end, I need to tell you up front that this is an absolutely terrific album. It's dark and beautiful and mysterious and ... emotional. There is such a great use of dynamics, of contrast, of restraint and letting loose. It at once seems a perfect length and too short. While classical music and rock music have both been around a while, classical obviously longer than rock, there is something fresh, unique and vibrant about After Crying. While some of that may come from the "novelty" of their Hungarian origins, I rather suspect that even if there a hundred known Hungarian prog bands, After Crying would still generate the same amount of excitement. Because, at the end of the day, its who they are as musicians that makes the music, not where they're from. Though that's not to dismiss the fact that had they grown up elsewhere, where there wasn't an emphasis on classical music (e.g. the US), they'd be making music of an entirely different sort, if at all. Of course, jazz and other music forms are part of their mix, too. So go and seek this release out. Here's a preview of what you'll find.

Megalázottak És Megszomorítottak (The Insulted and The Injured) begins with lightly chiming percussion of "A Gadari Megszállott", a single flute (or other wind instrument), sustained keys, and sounds of nature - birds chirping, for example. These may be samples, but they set a mood that is almost is deceptively tranquil. Just as you are lulled into a peaceful state, piano and cello are added to the mix...making the mood much darker, sad and melancholy. As the album cover depicts, it's a gloomy and foggy night with a single, mysterious light shining brightly. (Though mere coincidence, it looks like it could be a still from the X-Files). It is a cinematic moment, as you can imagine the first, story setting scenes scrolling by. When vocals come in at about 7 minutes, my first thought was of Camel. Before this 22-plus minute track is over, it has traversed a wide ranger of territories, each building upon the next. There are moments that, on the one hand, seem playful with the bright trumpet (and somewhat jazzy), but the screeching in the background - like some tortured alien - belies that. There are also moments where the music seems gothic, but this changes slightly when the percussion comes more to the fore with almost and militaristic tattoo. One stunning thing about this track, and the whole album in fact, is the production. While one does have to turn it up a few notches to hear the very quiet and subtle beginning, the separation between the instruments is spectacular. Making it one of those releases that you must listen to more than once, if only to follow each instrument's path through the arrangements. There's a moment after some frenetic trumpet, rolling piano and drums where everything just stops ... but for subtle, sustained keyboard notes, everything is still. Heartstoppingly still. A moment frozen in time ... something has happened. That playful trumpet I mentioned (playful only because the final note of each segment goes up, like a party favor) appears at this point. Drums, keys, and piano play in mid-tempo till they fade out, and we end as we began. In a quiet, isolated wood.

"A Kis Hös" begins with a warm but sad cello and percussion like glints of light. High female vocalizations are contrasted by deep male choral voices, at once Gregorian and also reminiscent of the deep, circular tones of a didgeridoo, so resonate are their voices. "Noktürn" again reminds me of Camel, though this brief track is very understated.

The title track starts with a revving, screechy cello, gives way to an organ, which gives way to a violin, all while a rock beat sets the pace. Some elements of neo-prog here in that that percussion, but this soon becomes very much like ELP, with car horns squonking in the background. Churning bass and percussive keys, but even this lasts only briefly. The rock beat fades out as a Herb Alpert-like trumpet beginnings trilling and fluttering. Then we get (what sounds like) kettledrums as things get much darker...and things get calmer. It is during this quiet, symphonic, orchestral passage that I think of many a soundtrack to middle-age period films -- Henry V for example. Again, this is something that lasts briefly, as vocals appear, a gentle voice drifting along, somewhat melancholy. The track then becomes a duet between piano and trumpet, slow and sad enough to be lulling.

New tone colours are introduced on the "Vegül," as there is, at first, a western feel to the arrangement. And drummer Lászlö Gacs gets another opportunity for the solo focus.

Again, this is all quite terrific. There is an interview in the Spring/Summer 1999 issue of Progression, written by my cohort John "Bo Bo" Bollenberg that's worth checking out.


Tracklisting:
A Gadari Megszállott (22:10) / A Kis Hös (3:23) / Noktürn (1:52) / Megalázottak És Megszomorítottak (10:59) / Vegül (2:25)

Musicians:
Csaba Vedres - zongora, EKO Stradivarius, ének, madár
Péter Pejtsik - cello, synthesizer, narráció, ének, madár
Bal´zs Winkler - trumpet, synthesizer, hangol´sip, ének, madár
L´szló Gacs - drums, ütõhangszerek, ének, madár
plus guests on oboe, bass clarinet, vocals, and more

Discography:
Opus 1 (1989/2009)
1989 (1989/2009)
Overground Music (1990)
Megalázottak És Megszomorítottak (The Insulted and Injured) (1992)
Föld És Ég (Earth And Sky) (1994)
De Profundis (1996)
Elsõ Évtized (The First Decade) (1996)
After Crying 6 (1997)
Almost Pure Instrumental (1998)
Live - Struggle For Life (essential) (1CD) (2000)
Live - Struggle For Life> (2CD) (2000)
Bootleg Symphony (2001)
Show (2003)

Live (DVD) (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin HU

Added: May 15th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Score:
Artist website: www.aftercrying.hu
Hits: 1132
Language: english

  

[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]