A live music set isn’t often a metaphor for staying power and rising to a challenge, yet Lőrinc Barabás’ appearance at the Forge Camden certainly is. Lőrinc Barabás or Barabás Lőrinc – in Hungary the surname is written first – launching his latest studio album Elevator Dance Music on the night, is a multi-instrumentalist one-man-band: in itself a challenge. That he was on the stage for his hour-plus set and delivered, without a breather, a continuous stream of on-the-spot mixed music tracks marrying the analogue with the digital, was evidence of his stamina. And these were just the beginnings of this Dance/House maestro’s art.
A delight to the ears and fodder for the feet, Barabás’ mix of brassy jazz, electro-house and industrial beats was just what the doctor ordered to round-off the working week. A master of all he touches, his tools on the evening included the trumpet, keyboard/synthesiser, DJ mixing machines, sound-effect foot pedals and computer software. Single-handedly building industrial rhythms around the trumpet – his key instrument – accompanied by his other tools was more evidence of this artist’s ability to rise to a challenge.
In conversation Barabás likens himself to a Club DJ, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched or denigrating to describe him as a DJ with a trumpet. That he wasn’t in a sweaty club with a frenzied crowd lapping up his performance was the only wrong note of the evening. While Barabás is exceptionally limber with his instruments, a baying dancing audience should have been guiding the tempo of his gadgetry.
Barabás’ communication was intended to be purely through his relentless stream of music. Throughout his set there were no breaks and quite rightly none of the customary verbal exchanges: you were left simply to bask in and feel the music. The particular art on display is his lofty performance of a process, one which goes as follows: Barabás the composer conjures up a tune in his head; Barabás the seasoned trumpeter then renders his composition as a blare of his horn; the blared tune’s picked up by computer software, turning the acoustic snip into an electronic sound loop; Barabás the DJ then combines the blaring loop with a few deft strums on his synthesiser and selections from his sound machine library to get a crowd stamping. While this description might suggest fussiness the reality’s a sublime witnessing of a master DJ trumpeter at work. According to the artist 60-70% of his set is played live, recorded, and looped onstage filled in with improvisational parts and accompanied by beats, mixed live as well.
This was a unique experience in more ways than one: any live performance is unique, yet with Barabás there’s the extra dimension of experiencing a serendipitous process: the phrase “anything could happen” comes to mind. This one-man band’s set, and his signature analogue/digital combo, was a unique take on the jazz-house genre. It would be a delight – if a challenge to the DJ-trumpeter – to experience the Barabás twist of electro-jazz-house and brazen trumpet-blaring live in an unashamedly dance/house club setting.
More details of Barabás Lőrinc can be found at his website: www.barabaslorinc.com