Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Vágtázó Halottkémek—
Jumping Out The World - Instinct


Released 1991 on Alternative Tentacles
The Seth Man, March 2004ce
Everything is a part of this universe of ours. EVERYTHING.

Admittedly, it sounds outwardly glib and simplistic on the surface, but face it: it IS true. Especially when you consider how tiny your own being is really is as it goes crawling in tiny steps across a planet relatively the size of a speck of dust upon a larger speck of a dust with nothing better to do than just continue its wobbly orbit around and around a slightly larger orb in perpetual flame doomed to eternal expiry sometime in the future.

Before I start talking about every single grain of sand on all the collective beaches of planet earth and compare them with the amount of stars visible and invisible to the naked eye in any small, random patch of the nighttime sky (short version: there are more of the latter), let me plainly re-state that EVERYTHING is a part of this big, bad ol’ universe of ours: Down from every single molecule in your body to the bag of frozen peas in your fridge to all the known planets and stars we can see to the one’s we can’t or never will because their light won’t reach our field of vision for another few thousand years to everything you’ve ever thrown in the garbage...it doesn’t go away; it stays RIGHT here in our universe, drifting SOMEWHERE like so much cosmic debris adrift in on a river comprised of matter and time and spurred on by a circular current of energy.

I know that the Hungarian shamanic rock ensemble Vágtázó Halottkémek (Hungarian for ‘The Galloping Coroners’) and especially their lead vocalist, the greatly-named Grandpierre Attila know all this and a whole lot more besides. Not only because he’s an astrophysicist, but the band approach the notion of an interconnected universe through their frenzied degrees of sounds on their stellar second album, “Jumping Out The World - Instinct” in such a way that despite (or because) half the tracks are intoned in Hungarian, the other half in English and NEITHER are literally comprehensible, on a gut level they speak to me LOUD and CLEAR and make me wanna cast shadows on the wall of my room with this thing blaring out into the void with a universally snotty “Fuck death forever and come on and get me, Motherfucker!!!” stance that animates your soul AND spurs you on to believing that there’s more to life than just...THIS.

Jello Biafra wrote sleeve notes for their first single, stating that ‘their acknowledged influences include Hawkwind, Yma Sumac and Amon Düül 1 plus a liberal dose of punk’ and he wasn’t entirely joking cuz “Jumping Out The World - Instinct” is a racket powered by saw toothed, sheet metallic shearing monochord electric guitars, bleach-boned rhythms, stentorian echoed vocals, intonations and plain old screaming...Exhaustively directed in a live situation in Mannheim, Germany against a painted backdrop smeared and spattered blood-like with symbols of animals, planets, suns and human movement.

It could be either the result of residual ancestral blood and toil spent beating back successive waves of Mongol and Ottoman invasions from the Carpathian Basin or the fact Vágtázó Halottkémek were banned by the then-Communist government of Hungary in their earliest years of formation that their music is fuelled with such mythically-charged aggression and persistence. With dying and resurrected paces their raging power hurls itself again and again smack up against the wall of unyielding existence just so they can break on through and go running through the universe forever like the fucking Magyar maniacs they truly are. Along with Grandpierre Attila going vox gaga galore throughout, “Jumping Out The World - Instinct” saw Vágtázó Halottkémek’s lineup comprised of Czakó Sándor (guitar, whistle, vocals); Soós Lajos (bass, violin, vocals) and Németh László (guitar, whistle) shored up by the double drums of Ipacs László and Balatoni Endre on cattle (no, not kettle: CATTLE) drums, whistle and vocals. The frenzied din they ignite kicks off with the wailing live blast that is absolutely 1972-era Hawkwind minus their electronics team plus Davie Allan on double necked Mosrite thru Fuzzrite fuzz playing another riff on “Last Train To Clarksville” but in reality is an Hungarian spew-lash on “Smokestack Lightnin’” called “Hello, Universe!” Before you can catch your breath, VHK are already into the slower paces of a noisy sludgestorm called “I’m Calling You!” where vocals call, heave and huff to the point of keeling over with red-faced abandon as Grandpierre Attila regroups the band, who then pushes him on while he pulls them forward in their endless game of sonic tug-of-war. It all spills over into the over-amplified, hoarse space whisper and free form/for all, “I'm Building A Castle From The Dust” where Amon Düül Eins drum patterning presides over the whole place. It quiets down and has (somewhere) just turned into the title track, “Jump Out The World - Instinct” where echoed howls from beyond, creaky’n’skittering runs up the guitar and a parade of drum rolls unleash and roll all a-rhythmically and here’s where the portal to the next world is being repeatedly bashed open. This is a reoccurring theme for VHK, especially seeing as the title of their following LP would bear the title “Hammering On The Gates Of Nothingness.” Soon, Grandpierre and pals are crawling through the entire universe with “Where Are You?” Like a desperate psychic search party that presses on against all the odds and leaving NO star unturned in its skeletal but full-on barrage, with the same guitar tones as Stacy Sutherland’s impossible residency in Amon Düül...which is to say, darkly sparse but starkly glittering at the same time.

Side 2 opens with “Another Kind of Landscape,” and that is putting it mildly. It is also another kind of soundscape entirely, with its brazenly heroic Western guitar placed over the clattering psychedelic surf punk fallout over G’pierre Attila’s vocal rallying of the VHK squad for yet another storming of the gates of Ulan Bator or the universe itself. The great space that is “Spinning In The World - Instinct” sees deep, dark and dank percussion clatter in the galaxy next store as a lone, distant harmonica sounds off underneath its reverberations. Whistles are blowing all around as ritualistic, shuddering cattle drums are willfully struck and start growing in pace. The deep space whispering of Grandpierre Attila calls out over further Düül drums and the rest of the echoing percussion transmits a mounting pressure in the universe about to give, as everything starts echoing and rebounding all over the place like crazy. A lone guitar starts peeling off creaking barrages as the sonic picture gets more and more tilted with echo, it’s as though the currents of the very air itself is shifting with each of G’pierre Attila’s hastily emitted and life-affirming pronouncements. They’re soon sliding down out the opposite end of a wormhole in space, and everything’s smearing together as it gets shaken out into a cosmic kitty pile somewhere on the other side of the cosmos until the final comedown and -- for the only time on the album -- at least SOME reasonable degree of resolution and peace is reached. Which of course is torn asunder immediately by the album’s last song, the ass-on-fire furry-freaking of “I'm Going To Do It!” that does indeed. Attila’s grunting, screaming and the barrage behind him is going for broke like the hardest core version of Hawkwind playing The Open Mind’s “Magic Potion” at the highest velocity imaginable while discharging highly charged ya-ya’s as they wring themselves entirely bone dry one more time. Whoa.


Note:
“Jumping Out The World - Instinct” was released on Alternative Tentacles and then re-released in Europe on CD paired with their first album, “Teach Death A Lesson.” Although the Alternative Tentacles version is currently out of print, it’s not too difficult to track either one down. (Just so you know, their 1999 album “Dancing With The Sun” features a far more orthodox and toned down approach.)