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Lajkó Félix & VOŁOSI : Lajkó Félix & VOŁOSI

Fonó Budai Zeneház, 2019

Pure, perfect music

Author: Marija Vitas

Lajkó Félix

The album cover (photo: Michal Łuczak, design: Dóra Kiss)

Thank God the world music term was coined! If nothing else, then for the sake of Lajkó Félix projects, in order to be classified somewhere, and mostly for the purpose of more effective promotion and sales. Félix is always on the go and doesn’t allow us to catch him, neither his head nor his (devil’s) tail. He is already widely regarded as the devil’s violinist, which, above all, brings him about his two centuries older colleague Niccolò Paganini, who, according to legend, sold his soul to the devil, thus becoming the ultimate violinist of incomprehensible proportions.

I do not know if Félix somehow made a pact with Devil, but I experience this devilish element in a special way. Félix does not belong to the Devil. He is (as) the Devil himself, to whom folklore-historical layers have given the ability to change (musical) forms and tempt us, ordinary mortals – eager for challenges and passions, but often unwilling to overcome them – in various ways.

He tittups with us in the very first half-minute of the music on the album, while „tatting” the introduction (which looks more like a cadenza than an introduction to a piece), traversing a little space through the worlds of classical and folk music without resembling a patchwork, but rather a single whole, with its head, body and, of course – with its tail.

But this is not a story just about Felix, a unique Serbian-Hungarian violinist whose mother gave birth to the untamed and inclined to constantly search for sounds and musicians convenient to collaborate with. The fiery, furious, and sometimes very gentle and songful Félix violin crossed with the Polish string quintet VOŁOSI a few years ago, first on a stage and this year also on the sound carrier.

Lajko Felix & VOŁOSI in Novi Sad

Lajko Felix & VOŁOSI’s concert at NOMUS in Novi Sad, 2019 (photo: Srđan Pabllo Doroški)

The album, in a way, is a no name – since it is called the same as this one of a kind ensemble – as if it was deliberately made in such a way that it does not evoke extra-musical associations, connotations, emotions, contexts. It was as if the musicians were simply playing, just performing, jamming, gradually shaping the musical streams and layers, and came up with whole parts / tracks (I do not doubt that there are many more than nine, as it is on the disc), to which, then, any name should be given. And when you listen to something called “Speedmotion” or “Valse”, “Slowmotion” or “Side”, when you are captivated by fascinating music, irresistible in its simplicity and complexity, you also realize how unimportant the names can be and how the music has power to radiate in its self-splendor, away from any other human activities, inclinations and feelings.

Lajkó Félix & VOŁOSI’s album is pure music. A perfect musical being in ecstasy, in that feeling of delight, of endless joy, of the excitement close to madness.

What brings together the string quintet of VOŁOSI and Félix? Outstanding individual technical skills, ingenious ability to bring out from the tones and convey to the audience that pure, perfect music (or, musical) being, which is also gifted to the highest instance – to God or the Devil… These six players also have in common an excellent ability to arrange and compose, weaving of ideas and sound impulses (cellist Stanisław Lasoń and violist Jan Kaczmarzyk present themselves in the role of composers in three tracks, besides the dominant Félix author’s print).

Project of Lajko Felix & VOLOSI

Lajkó Félix & VOŁOSI (photo: Gábor Erdélyi)

Above all, these musicians combine the art of sailing between genres, but not in the sense of making combinations and “cocktails” of various ingredients. On the contrary, Félix and VOŁOSI float in the middle, away from the genre shores and landscapes. It would be the same as we would say for a child that no matter it doesn’t look anything like mother or father, it still has „something” that appears to be similar – but it is not so easy to explain what “that something” is – so is the music of Lajkó Félix & VOŁOSI having “something” Carpathian, Eastern European, something that is jazz, rock … But, only one who would do a meticulous musical analysis of the work of Félix and the artists from VOŁOSI might be able to break down into microscopically precise ingredients, and separate “protons” from “neutrons”.

Here is the album review in Serbian

Until then, let us indulge in this album which, often through a simple harmonic sequence of only four chords in a loop, develops an exciting musical being. That being sometimes crawls (“Crawler”), then turns upside down (“Upside Down”), pulls himself out of the ditch he fell into (“From the Ditch”), runs downhill (“Downhill”)… Whatever it does, the being is almost always overpowered by the rapturous counterpoint of the various strings and fingers. And in a string counterpoint, it is usually the Félix violin that moves the most. It runs frenzied through the thick VOŁOSI forest so that it really cannot be caught either by the head or the tail.