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Awakening (2LP)

Label: Analogue Foundation, Oshu Records

Format: 2LP

Genre: Jazz

Preorder: Releases July 5th 2024


On a quest for cosmic grooves of unity, Àbáse is the imagination of Hungarian producer and keyboardist Szabolcs Bognár. Now based in Berlin, he’s become a protagonist of a fast-rising jazz movement in the German capital. Bringing together musicians from Hungary, Germany, Ghana and Australia for moving project with a global outlook - here is his highly anticipated new album ‘Awakening’ released by Analogue Foundation and Oshu Records. Created following a move to Berlin, marriage, new parenthood, and the inevitable interrogation of mortality that takes place when a loved one has transitioned, ‘Awakening’ demonstrates a deep understanding of music’s ability to cross time and geographic boundaries, conveying a message of unity, dialogue and self-reflection. Recorded in four days at Berlin's Brewery Studios, the album coalesces Àbáse’s varied musical influences and reference points (classic Lagos Afrobeat, traditional Hungarian folk, Yoruba rhythms, house and techno, hip-hop et al) with exquisite modalimprovisation à la Coltrane, spurred by Szabolcs’ introspection.

“Awakening was the first working title I gave to the project, and I decided to stick with it as it felt authentic and descriptive of what I wanted to express. The name comes from the concept that babies can hear and remember their parents voices from the belly, they recognise the voices upon birth and can be soothed with them. Being born is to enter an elevated state of existence, transitioning from just sounds and feelings to sight upon birth. I believe the way we experience life on earth and trying to make sense of the universe will shift upon our transition or ‘death’, and its only a pathway to something higher. The imagined moment of rebirth and entering to this new realm of existence is what I call “Awakening”. Mostly composed of first and second takes with minimal overdubs, a striking level of intimacy is achieved between Szabolcs, Ziggy Zeitgeist (drums), Ori Jacobson (saxophone), Fanni Zahár (flute), Andras Koroknay (bass, synths), Ernö Hock (double bass) and Eric Owusu (vocals, percussion). This intimacy extends to the listening experience, with moments like atmospheric opener ‘Greeting Mother Sea’ and ‘Bloom (Flora)’ welcoming listener’s into Ábàse’s world through trance-inducing, glistening piano motifs, swirling synths and fluttering woodwinds.

Singles ‘Destruction Everywhere’ and ‘Menidaso’, paired with ‘Shango’, perhaps best highlight Szabolcs’ worldview and efforts to bridge creative ideas and cultural viewpoints. All three tracks are a bold fusion of spiritual jazz and afrobeat, with the latter two featuring the Twi vocal and driving percussion of Eric Owusu. Elsewhere, Szabolcs explores his own heritage with a stirring iteration of Hungarian folk song ‘Gyászba Borult Isten Csillagvára (God’s Star Castle Has Fallen To Grief)’, whilst also nodding to musical lineage through J Dilla homage ‘Shining’, and ‘Sunisaway’, a tribute to Sun Ra upon which Sun Ra Arkestra members Cecil Brooks and Knoel Scott are warmly welcomed to contribute.

‘Awakening’ is a new chapter for Àbáse, whose work has already drawn widespread critical acclaim. Debut album ‘Laroyê’, recorded entirely during a five- month trip to Brazil, found global praise from the likes of The Guardian, BBC Radio 6, Soulection, KEXP and Complex. Szabolcs has toured and collaborated as a keyboardist with the likes of Wayne Snow, Dele Sosimi, Pat Thomas and Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange. The new album begins an era of partnership with Analogue Foundation, who are dedicated to preserving and furthering analogue creation via record releases, international events, and activities at its recording studio and hi-fi listening bar. The Foundation is headed up by Grammy-winning New York City recording and mixing engineer Russ Elevado (D’Angelo, Erykah Badu), Audio-Technica, Soundwalk Collective, and Berlin recording and mix engineer Erik Breuer.

Cat. number: AF004
Year: 2024


Fanni Zahár, flute, alto saxophone, background vocals
Ori Jacobson, tenor saxophone, sopran saxophone

Szabolcs Bognár, piano, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Roland SH2000, Moog Sub37, Prophet Rev2

Eric Owusu, percussion, vocals

Ernő Hock, double bass

Andras Koroknay, bass guitar, Moog Minimoog, modular synth

Ziggy Zeitgeist, drums

With Special Guests:

Flóra Bognár, vocals (B1) 

Youka Snell, violin (A2, B1, B2, C1) 

Cecil Brooks, trumpet, vocals (D1)

Knoel Scott, baritone & alt saxophone, vocals (D1)

Dumama, background vocals (B3) 

Rhea Sodemann, background vocals (A2, A3, B3, D3) 

Wayne Snow, background vocals (B3)

Produced by Szabolcs Bognár
Executive produced by Szabolcs Bognár & Erik Breuer

Recorded and mixed by Erik Breuer except “Menidaso (My Hope)” mixed by Russell Elevado

Assistant engineers: Rhea Sodemann, Heinrich Matis