Thy Catafalque - Tuno Ido Tarlat
Post-Rock/Electronica with Some Folk and Black Metal Elements
8 songs (69'16")
Release year: 2005
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

With the name like Thy Catafalque one probably would expect the music to be of morbid variety – funeral doom or black metal with doom elements. At least that is what I thought when I was introduced to this Hungarian band which happened under some unusual circumstances (see my PS below). I was foretold there would be some electronic and folk elements, some dance beats, all laid over in the context of some black metal variety. Maybe I have misunderstood – but it was all for the better, because regardless of how much black metal is here, Tuno Ido Tarlat is one captivating listen, just as rich with emotions as it is with electronics.

Thy Catafalque is the work of a Hungarian duo, Juhasz Janos handling the guitars, but most notably the creation of composer and multi-instrumentalist Katai Tamas, who also has an even more introspective self-titled project. Tuno Ido Tarlat is no less than the third full-length output by Thy Catafalque, and if you have any interest in the lushly layered electronics driven post-rock, I strongly recommend the album. Heck, I thought I didn’t have much interest in this style, and I still can’t put the album away.

Long songs on Tuno Ido Tarlat never become boring as just about every one of them is telling a story, seizing and developing on a multitude of “themes” running through them. The opener Csillagkoho is probably one of the harshest outputs on the album, giving an opulent role to the guitars, but also introducing some techno beats and unexpected folk dance break around 5 min. Listening to Csillagkoho I noticed that the pervasive synthesizer on Tuno Ido Tarlat has an unbelievable fluidity and nautical feel to it. Imagine how surprised I was having discovered that the follow-up song’s title is ‘Neath Waters, one of the few songs with English lyrics in it, and also the one having the most complete “storyline”.

As waves splash around the body of a ship, it glides across the ocean with the sirens luring in the unsuspecting sailors. Or, is it the sea beast devouring and pulling in the female traveler?? No matter, as eventually the waters submerge above our heads and we begin the descent. Violin, piano runs, after the huge tribal drumming crescendo we end up at the grot where underwater creatures are rejoicing to the tune of the authentic folk dancing. The descent continues, taking us down the depth where probably only electric eels run amok. Don’t like my explanation? Feel free to acquire the album and make up your own.

I could go on with the “stories” Thy Cataflaque introduces us to. Bolyngo, Bolyongo has a spacey feeling, with the clock counting away the passing of time predicted in the Native American medicine woman prophecy. Kek Eg Caravan has a nature motif, harp sounds, birds chirping, quiet guitar strumming with violin crashing the party. Zapor is also dreamy, full of sensibility enriched by female vocals and bubbling synthesizers. Az Osanya Szol Ivadekaihoz, on the other hand, is quite aggressive, full of techno energy, with building layers of keyboards culminating in the final primal climax.

I am old enough to remember French project Space with Didier Maruani (Ekama) manning the controls. Thy Catafalque takes its electronic layered structure and theme building approach from Space, but this Hungarian band is a lot less withdrawn than Space, pouring more of the personality into the songs. Synthesizers, keyboards, programmed rhythms, some of them outright dance and techno, the listener never has a feeling of some computer geek twiddling the knobs. The harsh vocals are minimal and buried in the background, but rich and luscious melodies rule the world of Tuno Ido Tarlat. The complexity of layering the million things into a one song cut also has me drawn to it, like a moth to a fire, discovering something new with every listen. The only two songs I did not enjoy as much was Nasz Az Avaron (too much grime on the guitars seems to be out of tune with the rest of the album) and closer Varjak Fekszenek, as quiet and somber as it is, never seems to reach me on the emotional level, simply meandering out there in space.

When I e-mailed Mr. Tamas asking whether I can purchase the album he replied saying that all CDR copies of the album have been sold out. Here is to whoever may be reading this. Sign Thy Catafalque and re-release Tuno Ido Tarlat, so the rest of the world can pay the proper respects to this wonderful album.

P.S. I am generally not a great believer in the overall human kindness and generosity. I am no misanthrope either, but simply do not believe in the mankind’s overall moral strength. Human nature is made up of the billions of individual relationships, and as we run our course our lives go through a large number of them, some lasting only moments, others lasting a lifetime. As I have grown older, the scars of life seem to be taking their toll. Increasingly, I find myself being stuck in the “first impression” gear more and more, unable to progress and evolve with time. Thus, I found it grossly rewarding and ultimately humiliating that someone, who I really didn’t hit it off with on the good note originally, was able to rise above our differences and initiate a dialog I have enjoyed. This someone pointed me in the direction of Thy Catafalque, and only because of him I was able to discover this album and tell you all about it. Thanks, Misha, I owe you one.

Killing Songs :
'Neath Waters, Bolingo Boliongo, Kek Eg Karavan, Zapor, Az Osanya Szol Ivadekaihoz
Alex quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Thy Catafalque that we have reviewed:
Thy Catafalque - Sgurr reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
Thy Catafalque - Rengeteg reviewed by Alex and quoted 87 / 100
Thy Catafalque - Róka Hasa Rádió reviewed by Alex and quoted 91 / 100
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