Music Minutes – Synthpop
C’mon Start the Banzai!
Hungarian synth pop legend Bonanza Banzai started out in the late ’80s with entering a talent show (a real one) which they didn’t win, but found their manager and third member there. By the early ‘90s, they were labeled as the ‘Hungarian Depeche Mode’, teenage boys copied front man Ákos Kovács’s hairstyle, teenage girls (and boys) wore black and the ‘Bonanza sign’ in their neck. Beyond the distinctive look and dark yet poppy tunes, Bonanza Banzai gave us depth and mass hysteria, they inspired us to read Orwell’s 1984 and watch Wim Wenders’ Der Himmel über Berlin. For loads of us, being a Bonanza fan didn’t end when the band split up in 1994. And you’d still be hard-pressed to find anyone born in the country between 1975-85 who doesn’t know the lyrics of Induljon a banzáj!
At the end of the ‘90s, Casio Samples was one of the most notable groups that filled the void in the Hungarian electronic music scene. Zoltán Marton, Attila ‘Kecske’ Szalai and Péter Majdik created a soundscape of every kind of electronic music that’s influenced them from old-school hiphop to ‘80s pop, and most of all Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode. Although Casio Samples released only one album, Cutting Age before splitting up in 2004, it was enough to reach a cult status. Some say the music of Casio Samples is cold and aloof, but if the biggest hit of their album (and all the rest of the tracks really)When I was only five doesn’t take you on an emotionally charged journey, the error is in your device then.
This is not a piece of the history of Hungarian music, but a piece of music history that happened to take place in Hungary. On December 4th, 2012 Alan Wilder (ex-Depeche Mode) and Paul Kendall (that is Recoil) played the last leg of their Selected Tour, a beautiful, emotional and very positive gig inBudapest. Coming out soon on Blue-Ray, the concert showcased well-crafted visuals; Alan Wilder looking more like a sports bar proprietor than the musical genius that he is, but smiling all the way; Paul Kendall moving like David Guetta with intervals of unblinking concentration; reinterpretations of old Depeche Mode classics; and the kind of electronic music that takes you to heaven and back.