Friday, April 5, 2019

East - 1988 - A Szerelem Sivataga

A Szerelem Sivataga

01. David Bowie szeme ~ David Bowie's eyes
02. Fényes ösvény ~ Shining path
03. Mama
04. Iránytü nélkül ~ Without compass
05. A bál ~ The ball
06. A szerelem sivatiga ~ The desert of love
07. A szél, az álom és a tündér ~ The wind, the dream and the fairy
08. Ketten a havon ~ Together on the snow
09. Várom az ünnepeket ~ Waiting for the holidays
10. Tülélók ~ Survivors

- Péter Dorozsmai / drums, percussion, synthesizer
- Péter Móczán / bass, programming
- Géza Pálvölgyi / keyboards, program
- Tamás Varga / vocals, percussion
- János Karácsony / guitar
- Tamás Mohai / guitar
- Miklós Mákó / trumpet
- Ferenc Muck / saxophone

I'm a bit confused with this band because of the popularity it had with it's most famous album Huseq. I have this album myself and will review it soon but wasn't really thrilled with it. Most of our prog reviewers were however looking at their reviews and ratings so I begin to wonder what I'm missing when I listen to this band.
East is a Hungarian neo progressive band with their heyday in the eighties.The music is actually quite simple but the band has some mollifying aspects that could be the trick here. They sing in their native language, sound pretty timid and the production quality is a bit modest to say the least. And maybe also the fact that in the eighties the usual production quality wasn't exactly high in most cases and let's not forget on top of that Hungary was still communistic when most of their albums were released and didn't have as much contact with western music as nowadays.

Anyway, despite this all, if I have to give my opinion about what I hear it's hard for me to become enthusiastic. I usually don't give extra points for reasons as mentioned above. I give my judgement about what I hear and that's it. And East just doesn't do it for me. Like I said, the music is simple, there are no highlights where songs or instrumental ingenuity are concerned. The most interesting aspect I could discover was some nice percussion in some of the songs.

East - 1986 - 1986


01 - Kiáltás
02 - Krízis
03 - Változások
04 - Az aranyöböl kapuja
05 - A lefátyolozott hölgy
06 - Szelíd sólyom odaszáll
07 - Balett
08 - A történet végtelen
09 - Az utolsó határ

János Varga - guitars
Péter Móczán- bass
Sándor Homonyik - Lead vocal
Péter Dorozsmai- drums
Aladár Oláh- Keyboards

 After the fine instrumenal album " Áldozat", East changed the directory again. The sound of album is typical eighties: drum computers, ugly digital synthesizers ( Yamaha DX7). Guitarist, János Varga preferred the guitar synthesizer instead of the guitar. If you like for example, IQ's Nomanzo, Wedge from Pallas or Invisible Touch, this album is yours, if you don't, stay away. First track "Kiáltás" very, (solo) Peter Gabrielish with apocalyptic lyrics about the Cold War. Some song are a bit irritating, especially " Aranyöböl kapuja" , "Krizis" and "A történet végtelen". The latter is a bad carbon copy of Hearts from the 90125. Best track is the jazzy instrumental "Ballet", Peter Moczan plays in manner of Pastorius. 

East - 1984 - Az Aldozat (Szodoma)

Az Aldozat (Szodoma)

01. Szodoma ~ Sodom
02. Áreverés ~ Auction
03. Asszonyok panaszdala ~ Women's lament
04. Átoktánc ~ Dance of curse
05. Lea
06. Pusztulás ~ Destruction

- István Király / drums, percussion
- Péter Móczán / bass
- István Nemeth / keyboards
- János Varga / guitars

Nice album of this Hungarian band. One of the most finest bands of East Europe with a powerfull sound. This album have a great percussion and drums work and is not necessary some drums solos for we see how good is the stuff. Very spacey with a strong keiboards that made a powerfull context in music and some guitar parts that we can remember some Floydian sounds. I like this work that are very balanced, and the instrumental part made all universe of Szodoma. 5 tracks when the first and the last , (Szodoma and Pustulás) the more extensive, made some Psychedelic Space Rock and I think that this work is not Neo Prog in most of this parts. Excelente adiction in East Europe collection and one of the best works of this band.

A transitional album of the great Hungarian prog heroes: the old line-up was almost split up but they haven’t been teamed up with Takáts yet.

This is not a regularly progressive rock record but music composed for a ballet performed in progressive rock vein. The sound is very traditional: the record sounds similar to the debut Játékok the synthetic sound present on the two succeeding albums is not apparent here. Not only the sound reminds to the first album but also some of the musical themes have been heard on Játékok. Those who liked their first album will definitely enjoy this.

This is a completely instrumental album and very functional as music. The closing track is a revised repetition of the opening ‘Sodom’, slightly in the vein of ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’, both seem to run too long. The tracks in between are generally moderate in tempo and more interesting. The two standouts are ‘Women’s Lament’ and the beautiful ‘Lea’ which is clearly the record’s best moment with the guitar work within. ‘Auction’ is an ambient like piece which is very functional, while ‘Dance of Course’ is in the vein of the first and last track with more energy.

I would say Sodom is a very good album since East for me is still a standout act of Hungarian progressive rock. On the other hand something is missing here: a short material where almost half of the running time is occupied by the first and last track. That’s why I recommend this one for fans and collectors only.

East - 1983 - Resek A Falon

Resek A Falon

01. Rések a falon ~ Cracks in the wall
02. Az idegen ~ The stranger
03. Mintha mégis ~ As if
04. Száguldj velem ~ Race with me
05. Különvonaton ~ Private train
06. Földközelben ~ Flying low
07. Agymosás ~ Brainwash
08. Az utolsó éjszaka ~ The last night
09. Az óra jár ~ The clock is running
10. Tánc a paraázson ~ Dancing on members

Total Time: 43:45

Line-up / Musicians
- István Kárily / drums
- Péter Mózcán / bass, back vocals
- Géza Pálvölgyi / keyboards
- József Tisza / lead vocals
- János Varga / guitar

 After the wonderful album "Huség", East moved away from the symphonic rock toward the eigthies, new wave-is sounding art rock, a'la Rush's Signal album. They did this from their own decision. New singer, József Tisza came in the band, his voice was similar like old singer. The opening "Rések a falon ~ Cracks in the wall" is very catchy pop song with serious lyrics about the orwellian paranoia, what the people felt in the communism behind the iron curtain. "Az idegen ~ The stranger" is sad, nostalgic song about a man, who got back locale of the childhood. This is little old East sounding with short, but good guitar solo. "Mintha mégis ~ As if" average pop- rock song. "Száguldj velem ~ Race with me" almost started like Tom Sawyer, vocal shared Péter Móczan and József Tisza. An istrumental number, "Különvonaton ~ Private train" closes the first side of the vinyl. "Földközelben ~ Flying low" is a simple radio friendly new wave song. The next one, "Brainwash" is electronic new wave rock, with vocoder. "Az utolsó éjszaka ~ The last night" is the best song,here we can hear near resemblance to the old East sound. "Az óra jár ~ The clock is running" is very energetic number with great synth solo in the middle. The last "Tánc a parázson ~ Dancing on members"is an instrumental too. The band tried to balance between the old good progressive rock and the modern aor-ish, new wave-ish music, but it didn't succeed perfectly. The music sounds rather dated, but the words become in our days more actual.
A head on collision between Art & Illusion era Twelfth Night and... A Flock of Seagulls. Sung in Hungarian mind you. Many Neo Prog bands weren't that far from the mainstream, truth be told. Not a bad album at all really, though one does need to have their early 80s MTV T-Shirt on for sure. Side 2 is considerably stronger, and the final cut proves that progressive rock could have seamlessly merged with the Synthpop movement after all. Oh well.

East - 1982 - Huseg


01. Hüség ~ Faith (3:43)
02. Keresd õnmagad ~ Search yourself (4:23)
03. Mágikus eró ~ Magical power (2:55)
04. Én voltam ~ It was me (5:56)
05. A végtelen tér öröme ~ The happiness of the endless space (1:38)
06. Üjjászületés ~ Born again (3:40)
07. Ablakok ~ Windows (5:44)
08. Vesztesek ~ Losers (3:44)
09. Felhókón sétálva ~ Walkin' on the clouds (4:22)
10. Várni kell ~ You must wait (5:56)
11. Merengés ~ Meditation (2:14)

- István Király / drums, percussion
- Péter Móczán / bass
- Géza Pálvölgyi / keyboards
- János Varga / guitar
- Miklós Zareczky / lead vocals

Due to the fact that the Eastern Europe regimens were not very fond with Rock which was seen as an expression of Capitalism, Prog didn't reached Hungary exactly at the same time than in the rest of Europe, so during the 80's when the rest of the world saw Progressive Rock as an archaic sub-genre and surrendered to Synth Pop, bands as EAST played solid Neo Prog very close to the Symphonic of the pioneers but with extra elements that made it richer than ever before.
"Hüség" (Faith) starts with the self titled song that starts with a nice jazzy feeling that reminds me a bit of Jean Luc Ponty but with a preeminent Symphonic component, the keyboard sections by Géza Pálvölgyi are very entertaining and blend perfectly with the electric guitar that gives an extra touch of hard Rock, interesting opener.

"Keresd Onmagad" (Search Yourself) begins extremely dramatic with a strong organ intro that leads to a vocal section in Hungarian that without loosing the dark atmosphere, softens a bit the mood, again some guitar solos add a nice touch.

"Magikus Ero" (Magical Power) follows the path of the previous track with strong and mysterious organ, but soon morphs into a faster track with lush keyboards and frantic guitars, a nice change that shows the ban has versatility and the ability to move radically from one style to another, extremely dramatic.

"En Voltam...." (It was Me) places us before a new change of atmosphere, more oriented towards the sound of ALAN PARSONS PROJECT (Pyramid softer tracks), even though is a simpler track, keeps the interest of the Progressive Rock fan due to the excellent organ and Mellotron solos, another good song.

"A Végtelen tér Oröme" (The Happiness of Endless Space) is a short instrumental interlude that works as an intro for "Üjjászületés" (Born Again) which privileges the Melodic Folk side of the band, with a beautiful melody that only changes near the end with another excellent organ and Mellotron based passage.

"Ablakok" (Windows) shows a fourth face of the band, now they get closer to some sort of Space Rock with heavy atmospheres diluted a bit with the vocals that sound a bit out of place, an atmosphere that is kept in "Vesztesek" (Losers), this time with a much better performance of "Miklós Zareczky" in the lead vocals and a surprising guitar solo by János Varga in the style of David Gilmour.

"Felhókón Sétálva" (Walking on the Clouds) as it name indicates is another spacey song, which starts soft with a nice piano buts gets faster and stronger as it advances, on the other hand "Varni Kell" (You must Wait) is an exquisite Symphonic track with good piano performance and strong vocals supported by the whole bands that makes an outstanding job.

"Hüség" ends with "Merenges" (Meditation), a short melancholic song that fades gently with the album.

Even though some demanding Prog fans may find it too soft, I believe we are before an excellent album recorded when the genre was agonizing in the rest of the world impulses the development of Progressive Rock in a region that was giving the first steps towards Rock (Even when in some Eastern countries Prog had developed before than in others).

When the anglos were swaying robotically to Gary Numan, the eastern Europeans were still gleefully playing high quality symphonic progressive rock. Nobody told them it was uncool or would not sell, and, perhaps as a result, this 1982 album makes few if any concessions to the commercial sound of its time. Or maybe they were just a few years behind the times. Regardless of the reasons or motivations, we should be thankful to have such a document.
On Huseg, East takes what seems like a simplistic approach, that of alternating instrumental tracks with songs sung in harmonious Hungarian, but it works fairly well because the instrumentals tend to the fusion side of things, at times reminding me of PASSPORT, while the vocal tracks are more Slavic symphonic in the manner of OMEGA or early BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST. This unlikely marriage does not seem to be arranged in the least, but perhaps sets out to explore different forms of faith or conflicts around them. The best way to experience Huseg is to listen from beginning to end and not worry about when one track ends and another begins.

East - 1981 - Jatekok (Blue Paradise)


01. Nyitány ~ Overture
02. Messze a felhõkkel ~ Far away with the clouds
03. Szállj most fel ~ Fly up now
04. Kék-fekete látomás ~ Blue-black vision
05. Gyémántmadár ~ Diamond bird
06. Lélegzet ~ Breath
07. Nézz rám ~ Look at me
08. Üzenet ~ Message
09. Epilóg ~ Epilogue
10. Remény ~ Expectation

- István Király drums, percussion
- Péter Móczán / bass
- Géza Pálvólgyi / keyboards
- János Varga / guitar
- Miklós Zareczky / lead vocals

First of all, this one comes courtesy of childhood friend Leonardo Beulens, the guy that introduced me to Iron Maiden, Tygers Of Pan Tang, Marillion and all things horns... If you are ever in Havana and looking to expand your musical collection with some true local rarities, this is the guy you need to find, he will amaze you with his vast and arcane knowledge on Rock, Pop, Latin, Jazz and god knows what more, I have known the guy for almost four decades and he still manages to introduce me to bands I didn't know (all that while living behind the Sugar Cane Curtain!). Anyhow, the other day we were chating on Facebook and asked me if I knew these guys while showing me his copy of the album... I did not... He insisted that I should check them out... and since Google is also my friend, I became hooked on these dudes... Thank You Bro!

EAST is one of the most beloved prog acts from Hungary (if not the most). While the rest of the world was into New Wave, MARILLION carried the prog torch for Great Britain and points west. Guitarist János VARGA, keyboardist Géza PÁLVÖlGYI, singer Miklós ZARECZKY, bassist Péter MÓCZÁN and percussionist István KIRÁLY decided to pick up the prog banner for Eastern Europe. 

In 1981, they released their debut album "Játékok." The English translation is games. Oddly, they did release an English version, but it was titled "Blue Paradise." It was a well-received debut, and is still highly regarded. However, it is the sophomore effort, 1982's "Hüség" (Faith), that seems to capture more hearts. 

The first two albums were more symphonic inspired, but they felt the need (or perhaps pressure) to pursue a more mainstream approach. This led to replacing lead singer Miklós ZARECZKY, with József TISZA on "Rések a Falon" (Cracks in the Wall). While the third album is not the darling of prog fans, it was a great commercial success. The next outing, 1984's "Az Áldozat (Szodoma)" (The Victim (Sodom)) saw them dumping vocals altogether. It is completely instrumental, and has been described as a rock ballet. This could also be considered the last true EAST studio album. There was a four-year gap until "A Szerelem Sivataga" (The Desert of Love) came to be, and everyone except Péter MÓCZÁN had left the ranks. It is also interesting that this album enlisted the biggest lineup (eight in all) to bear the name EAST. 

Another nice entry in the list of good East-European  Prog Rock bands, East were a band from Hungary, formed in mid-70's in Szeged and led by charismatic guitarist János Varga.However the band should have to wait 5-6 years before releasing their debut.This would come in 1981 under the title ''Jatekok'' (Start, translated into ''Games''), certainly in a harsh time to produce sophisticated Rock music.Except Varga, East were Péter Móczán on bass, István Király on drums, Géza Pálvölgyi on keys and Zareczky Miklós on vocals.Though some of the bass lines and keyboard parts will remind you of Marillion, these guys achieved to release two albums before Marillion released even one.The style of the music lies somewhere between Symphonic/Melodic Rock and Space Rock with heavy use of electronic samplers.Yes, the two first tracks are very close to Marillion, but as the album unfolds the band deliver a very personal style of Prog Rock.Part of the guitar work will remind you of Alex Lifeson's style in late-70's/early-80's Rush, a few rockin' passages pop out here and there, some Fusion elements are added for a change and the electronic parts create some great soundscapes for the listener.This is a very challenging mix of sounds by a band with a rather dark-sounding atmosphere.This one deserves your attention, for it carried the torch of Art/Prog Rock at a time, when experimentation was more than forbidden for a band's survival.

 Nice album of this Hungarian Band. A fine Progressive style with keyboards and very nice guitar arrangements. Lot's of spacey parts that made a very good instrumental context. A good band of East Europe when we can find a little of Pink Floyd and a little of Camel. The drummer is in a classic neo-prog vein, with a nice intricate part's. The vocal parts are very nice but is in Hungarian and we do not understand the message of lyrics but they are very harmonic in this prog style. I think that this album and specially, the 3 first albums of this band, are a very good addiction of a Progressive collector, specially a East Europe band in Iron Curtain time, because rock is prohibited. Very good musicians in a hostile environment, that create a very nice album that we must to hear with care, valuing the context in which it was create. I like this album and this band and I give 4 stars because the arrangements and the high quality of the musicians, they are worthy. A good album for the East Europe Prog Fans.