Budapest-born composer Tibor Szemző has been an unavoidable fixture of the Hungarian avant-garde since the 70s, as a founder of the minimalist ensemble Group 180 and other multidisciplinary performance outfits like the Gordian Knot Cinematic Music Lab. His extensive solo output spans over 40 years yet still remained somewhat on the “cult” end of things until reissuings of his work made recent rounds. His stealthily slitherings between the realms of ambient, new age, minimalism and spoken word render an undefinable vision that feels grounded in the modern world, which just as soon evaporates into inscrutability as soon as you think you got it. Below: a late game special peek into Hungarian composer Tibor Szemző's visual world!

A small biographical recap by Alexandr Krestovský:

At the beginning of his artistic career Tibor Szemző was mainly associated with the ensemble Group 180 from Budapest, which he founded in 1979 and very soon took on the role of an apostle of musical minimalism over Eastern Europe. Having obtained his basic musical training following the Kodaly concept of music education, Szemző graduated from the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy. There he met most of the musicians and future members of the ensemble, but his musical and general art universe was also influenced by the cultural explosion of the 1960s when he was a teenager – rock, blues, avantgard jazz, early minimalism and classical Indian music – than by the academic curriculum which included contemporary music. Although the GROUP 180 for which Szemző was a real “spiritual leader” worked as a very compact collective and rapidly gained the popularity of a rock band. His own artistic visions went further and in the mid-eighties he started to perform as a soloist as well. His broader musical background and original creativity came to full expression later in the nineties and in the following years he formed The Gordian Knot Company which was a very flexible and versatile group of musicians and some members of the Group 180 appeared there as well.

Below: stills of his film shot in India and the Himalayas some 25 years back, which will be screened alongside his performance at KRAAK Festival 2024 this Saturday March 2 at Het Bos, Antwerp.

Tibor's music can be found on Bandcamp and via Aguirre's distribution magic! And check out his website for an extended overview on his prolific and every-expanding career.