Review: Új Bála – Breatharian High Society

“Compared to my previous tape this one is one step closer to the dancefloor,” states Gábor Kovács (aka Új Bála). As far as I’m concerned, this one is ready for the dancefloor. Let’s roll it out. The album has a visceral pulse, distorting as it rattles the innate limits of the nightclub PA, turning the walls into a throbbing ventricle of bass frequencies clenched and released; acid techno synth lines chew at the upper frequencies, shimmying away from the rhythm and returning to it, drawing figure 8’s around those kick drum stomps. As a body, the urge to move is ferocious. Essential.

But what does this movement look like? Perhaps this is where we hit a problem. While Breatharian High Society might work with the ore of danceable music (stomp, melody, drop, hi-hat), it is cast in the most perplexing rhythmic moulds: angular, asymmetrical structures that shunt forth in diagonals and reverse via contorted double-backs. Új Bála understands the momentum that resides within traditional dance music, and he understands how to disrupt it – each of these tracks operates on a lurching alternation between free movement and a jamming of the gears, punctuating the swoops of limbs with sudden jolts and flinches. Perhaps our bodies are simply incompatible with this rhythmic dialect, lacking the necessary joints and appendages to render the experience seamless?

Certainly the textures here all indicate a sci-fi elsewhere – a boxy basement club on a planet of not-quite-humanoid partygoers, their movements stifled by the squish of a room at over-capacity, all flailing in acts of ecstatic individual liberty and as rippling communal entity. Strange images flood into my head: “Ipanema Acid Beach” is like a panic attack on an escalator, with hi-hats like hyperventilating breaths and glistening synth arpeggiations placed on strange harmonic slants; “Orchids And Alligators” is like a tower built from compacted, squelching sediment, with syncopations babbling over a sombre organ drone, wrapping like ivy around the vertiginous thump of the overdriven kick. The instruments press into eachother and hybridise through brute force, like incompatible jigsaw pieces jammed together until structure buckles under intent. Congruence through a visceral, endlessly fascinating force of will.

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