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The Voice And Its Personality

Zoltán Végső / Élet és Irodalom, 1999. 23th April

At our first meeting it was the expressiveness and responsiveness that I noticed in Ágens, who seemed to be bursting from those many things she wanted to sing about. But her new CD reflects a much more thorough and detailed picture, making us realize the shocking uncertainty of every aspect of our lives. The songs of this CD have been made since 1994, but this period of time is not about the process of development. The atmosphere of the CD is apocalyptic, where the only certainty is the singer.

The first song - Manifestation - is a kind of self-reflection. She sings a duet with herself, which reminds us of the imitations of Meredith Monk, except the musical components are not so dominant as there. It is the radical changes of the voice, sometimes with improvisations, that is really significant here. Her special tonal abilities - she can easily use smaller than half tones - were not spoiled by any musical institution as she is not a trained singer. The music can be described by the lack of tonality and sometimes the anachronistic altering modality. The scoring is old-fashioned (the synthesizer sounds don't get the main role, except in one song entitled China, which being an instrumental piece is the odd one out), has only a background role. The singing is so strong and dominant that it doesn't let anything else to compete with it. Boudny Ferenc is the composer of the music and he is also responsible for the recordings. It is also interesting to look at the verse, or rather the language of the songs. Little children all like to babble. Ágens also babbles, with the only difference that she has created a special system of signs where the sounding is more important than the meaning, or rather, the sounding is the meaning. An example could be the song called I-nu sodo. The age of rationalism seems to have ended. People speak different languages, they communicate with gestures, express themselves in a barbaric way without expecting any response.

Ágens is a real stage character, she has a special, almost etherial radiation. Though alone on the stage she attracts attention, she lives, breathes together with the music, follows it with her movements and facial expression. It is a catharsis both for the artist and the audience.

Translated: Eszter Szabó