Àbáse | Awakening

Science informs us that while we’re still in the womb, we’re able to hear our parents’ voices; and after birth, as we develop consciousness and memory, we’ll be soothed by these familiar sounds. As humans trying to make sense of our time on this planet, we may wishfully imagine a similarly comforting course to the proverbial “next” phase of existence: one that requires no intellectual inquiry, only an intuitive awareness of our present condition tethered to our innate ability to listen.

Szabolcs Bognár has been listening. Recent years have found the producer/multi-instrumentalist behind Àbáse especially mindful of the life cycle in all its biological and spiritual definitions as his personal and musical paths have dovetailed in profound ways: the realization of Àbáse from a spark of imagination to actuality, his immersion in the Candomble faith, a move from Szabi’s native Hungary to Berlin, marriage, new parenthood, and the inevitable interrogation of mortality that takes place when a loved one has transitioned.

The highs, lows and everything in between have pushed him towards a kind of creative rebirth. Where Àbáse’s previous album, Laroyê, was initiated by five months spent recording in Brazil in decidedly DIY-style, it was ultimately completed via hundreds of hours of painstaking post-production performed on Szabi’s laptop. Though pleased with the results, he was burnt out and needed a fresh approach. “I wanted to play, capture the moment, and do as little editing as possible,” he recalls. During the circuitous arc of the pandemic’s pauses and restarts he devotedly revisited a familiar touchstone in the classic Coltrane quartet’s ’60s recordings, drawing inspiration from their smoldering monastic intensity. His desire to embark on a more purely live, analog recording process, however, was cinched when he found not just an empathetic partner but a catalyst for his passion in accomplished engineer Erik Breuer, founder of Berlin’s freshly constructed Brewery Studios and a key figure within Analogue Foundation, the international coalition dedicated to the virtues of high quality sound experiences.


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