RUBRIKA: Uši pišu

Lajkó Félix & Band : Start

Fonó Budai Zeneház, 2020

And in a fire – a kolo

Author: Marija Vitas

felix band start cover

The beginning of Félix’s previous album, Lajkó Félix & VOŁOSI (2019), sounded to me like a cadence of complex composition on the border of classical and folk music. On the fresh CD, Start, the first seconds, on the other hand, bring sharp breaks, which seem to belong to the culmination of super powerful rock bravura.

Félix’s tendency to start from the “middle”, from a smaller or larger peak, is a reflection of his nature – first of all human, but which is also reflected in the artistic temperament. Félix rarely prepares himself, he doesn’t really like introductions. He immediately jumps into the fire. In fact, he doesn’t even come out of the fire. Félix is ​​in the fire, he understands it and breathes with it, he grows, strengthens, calms down, flares up. He does not try to control the fire and its nature as an Indian street entertainer with a cobra does. He values ​​freedom – his own, everyone’s, even fire’s.

The album Start is pretty rock-minded. At the same time, Félix is ​​again unique, recognizable. His style is such that it always seems the same and also so different. Whoever listens to it superficially, will think that this Serbian-Hungarian musician is just repeating or recycling himself. Whoever immerses himself in his music, will be amazed by the endless, diverse landscapes of spirit, improvisation, passion, genius and innovation. I come to the assumption that Felix reincarnated at least twice, and that in his soul are inscribed the skills of a grey-haired baroque master of toccata, inventions and preludes, as well as the musical screams and emotions of an early deceased rock musician.

The new album is very energetic, fierce, sharp, sometimes extremely fast. I discover its basic building element in the short strokes of Félix’s bow – cut-off, separate or, even more often, entangled in rows of tremolos, short motifs and passages, especially those that move “downhill”. In addition to the initial, title track “Start”, the “tempests” also include “Practice”, “Pyramide”, “Kolo” and “Pirate”.

“Practice” could be introduced in the program of secondary music schools (and even universities), to cancel some of the too often rehearsed and played etudes within violin classes and exams. The furious “exercise of fingers and bow” gave a lot of space for various musical elements to express themselves, such as tuba and its beautiful contribution to the arrangement.

Tuba (Mazura János) proved to be a convincing rock teammate on the album Start. It gives energy, but also airy cheerfulness, reducing the rawness of the sound, and increasing the dose of softness and warmth. In general, the rock mood of the entire release of Felix and his acoustic band can be compared to the atmosphere and sound that adorns the unplugged format of the performance of rock stars that is dear to the fans.

Here is the album review in Serbian

The only song on the album Start, in which I don’t feel the real idea and inspiration, is “Pyramide”. Still, even in this composition – which during its sharp flow sounds like one big, uninterrupted solo – Félix’s movement on the strings fascinates and induces the alternating impressions of the typical violin virtuosity and the characteristic solo of a guitar rock hero.


Novogodišnji koncert Lajka Feliksa i Benda, Budimpešta/Müpa, januar 2020 (foto: Juhász Éva)

“Pirate” shoots with strength and speed, too. It “drives” and “raises” in the same way as rock hits like “Passenger” by Iggy Pop. One could be blown away with a song of just four chords of a natural mole! Drummer Tomás Czirják has an excellent solo, multilayered, with a lot of different beats, smaller and larger “raindrops”.

In fact, much of the rock expression on the album comes from the drum section. Its strong and solid rhythm – which the tuba in “Who Are You” fantastically supports with her motor skills – is sometimes replaced by fine pulsations, as in “Sentence”. In this mostly gentle song, in which Félix even calmly spreads his thoughts, a wonderful arrangement solution appears, not infrequently or too often: above the subtle drums, part of the band performs a sensual motif downwards, based on the tones of c-h-b-a. This is one of the juiciest details of the Start album, its stunning vignette.

Tenderness and peace with Felix never last long. Félix must explode and flare up, once, twice, several times … It is the same in “Sentence” and in other “oases”…

feliks lajko i bend koncert

Lajko Felix & Band, Novogodišnji koncert, Budimpešta/Müpa, januar 2020 (foto: Juhász Éva)

Calmness in the already mentioned “Who Are You” is adorned with spilled, elegant harmonies, similar to those in the famous romantic waltz “Fascination”, and with another striking descending, sweet motif of the album – g-fis-f-e-dis. All this is interrupted by Félix’s impulsivity and attacks of madness.

The festive character in “Horizon”, supported by long cello tones (Endre Kertész), turns into a turbulent rock episode, imbued, however, with a beautiful, long solo on double bass (Barcza Horváth József), with hints of meditative improvisation on baglama or oud, slightly blues colored.

In the melodic, bright, elegant, uplifting “Ocean Liner”, Félix’s ship is moving towards the so-called exotic areas. We also hear Latin rhythms in the drum section, as well as appropriate stylistic features in guitar solo (Sidoo Attila), which distracts us all for a moment from Félix as we know him. However, the unrestrainedness and flammability of the frontman speak for themselves here as well. It sounds like Felix meets Roby Lakatos on the ship and wants to explain to him how delicate ship-restaurant music should sound in his opinion. And that means: never too sentimental!

The end of the album, “Zero”, also brings calm – but also storms! The violin is mainly a quiet, reduced narrator, who utters a few pizzicato-words. And then, as a completely different, energetic refrain in a rock ballad, a protest breaks out for a moment, but everything however calms down, restrains…

In the dynamic fire of the album “Start”, in that constant raising and lowering of energy and tension, there is, for me, a special moment. It’s called “Kolo” and I would like to declare it a masterpiece or at least a cherry on the whipped cream on the album-cake.

Glistening, licentious, it calls for a dance. It sounds completely “local”, but when I tried to imagine the music of a certain national group of Serbian residents dancing to music, I came across images of Roma hopping in the place, shaking modern wedding dances of Serbs, swaying of Vlachs… Félix put everything here. And the band understands him perfectly.

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