Gosheven – Bivaq


Honest? I skipped over this fucking album at least a half-dozen times. The reason? Cause I’m a big fat fucking moron. I let this beautiful, strange, exotic album enter into my one ear and then exit the other. It felt distant at first. Like some piece of abstract art intended to console the spirit of bananas. Like I could give a fuck. Then today, after spending the entire day driving on some godforsaken highway for six thousand years, I finally fucking got it. Something clicked. It hit me like I snuck up on Ali while wearing a Joe Frazier mask. This album is what shoegaze and ambient want to be when they grow up. It isn’t made of electronic sounds droning on like a forgotten neighbourhood car alarm or some emo fuck playing a c chord for an hour. This album has depth. It has reach. It has something to say. Sure, you may not hear it at first, but this motherfucker is like someone from special ops walking by two dudes drunkenly fighting outside of a bar. Some motherfuckers have to be stupid and loud to feel important while others just know they are.

The man behind Gosheven is named Bálint Szabó. Gosheven released an album last year called “Leaper”. And now Bálint comes back with his guitar to fuck shit up. The concept is simple: Use some fucked up tunings and stereo mixing to create a simple yet bizarre atmospheric music.

Be warned, when I say fucked up tunings, I mean this is the local fuckery distilling fucked-up tuning to all the fuckers, fuckettes, and fuckies in fucktown as fast as they fucking can. Song six uses a tuning called, “Ben Johnston’s overtone tuning”. What does this mean? Ben Johnston is the name of a modern composter. Back in the day, Benny boy came up with a tuning where the sound waves fight each other when played together, even if it’s the same exact note. There’s the “Michael Harrison’s Revelation” tuning (9 and 10). This tuning has a feeling similar to watching a duck dive deep into a calm lake and then never come back up for air. Poof, just gone. There’s La Monte Young’s “Well-Tuned Piano” tuning (songs: 1, 4, 11, 12), which sounds like the tuning aliens use to worship the god of machines. And, of course, there’s “Wendy Carlos super just” tuning on songs 2, 3, 5, 7, and 8. Wendy’s tuning is “math perfect” because it’s broken down into 19 steps instead of 12. What this means is that even though this shit is more “pure” it sounds slightly off. This creates a similar discomfort that occurs when some motherfucker waves to a person behind you, but you don’t know that just yet. 

If Bálint wrote bad songs and put them into bizarre tunings, it would be a cheap trick. But this album is fucking gold. The songs are legit. What the tunings do is adjust them into an off-focus. Sure, you may have to be in a dazed out post-highway mental state in order to see them at first, but if you ever find yourself one day staring too deeply into a hunk of pavement you’ll be happy this album exists. 

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