Young Dionysos is that rare album which I feel almost incapable of reviewing. Not because it is boring, derivative, or unlistenable, but because it proves difficult to fit it into the ‘album’ category at all. A new addition to the impressive ouvre of Hungarian-Finnish artist Sándor Vály, the album Young Dionysos is itself only a small part of a larger body of works, including video, painting, decollage, and performance art, which constitute the entirety of ‘Young Dionysos.’ As such, this ‘album’ is unlike anything I’ve yet encountered in this music journalism game1, and while it’s tempting to don my high-art-critic beret and write about the ‘Young Dionysos’ work as a whole, I am certain that the more appropriate course of action here is to use the tools already at my disposal to unpack Young Dionysos, the album, much as I would anything else. “Angry Avant-Garde Audiovisual Performance Art Guy” would be a bit of a mouthful, I think.

Comparisons of Young Dionysos to artists within the metal genre don’t quite reach, but readers receptive to the more avant-garde fringes of metal will best appreciate Young Dionysos. The only similar album I’ve come across is Body Hammer‘s IV: The Mechanism of Night. In five tracks, it crosses droning soundscapes, propulsive rhythm, singing sylnthesizers, and a badly abused piano, and despite the breadth of sound and technique, the album feels cohesive in tone. The most song-like of these movements is “Vine Song,” an unsettling piece of poetry sung with a single, droning melody. Its tale of erotic fantasy is unmistakably Dionysian, and Vály‘s use of layered-pitch shifted vocal tracks beneath the more obvious singing evokes a hazy and dangerous feeling of sublimated aggression.

The immediate response to some of this work is, as I am sure Vály intends, a sort of cautious distancing of one’s self from the sound. Not only with “Vine Song,” but elsewhere with the rapid rhythms of “Drumwork” and the gradual unspooling of “Overture,” I found myself both absorbed and looking for a way out. One can choose to stay in the headspace of this art; but I, obligated to endure it, found it at times strangely compelling. I listened constantly for hints at how these sounds were coming to be, and Young Dionysos‘ variety of sound kept me guessing. Yet for all these virtues, I found the album to be lacking. It simply does not push sonic boundaries, and anyone with an interest in experimental music or the 20th century avant-garde will not find the textures or techniques of sound-creation Vály uses terribly innovative. Since sound is not the exclusive focus of the larger project, this is not so surprising.

The result of this noisemaking, neither gut-wrenching nor fist-pumping, is an album that smacks of the art-house avant-garde; of art produced for an audience who have ushered themselves in to behold rather than to experience. And while I’m sure Vály‘s live performances are much more captivating than this disembodied sound, the sound here can feel alienated, more like a background than a main event. Without seeing, the full picture is lost, and Young Dionysos feels like the incomplete piece of a larger work that it is.

This is why Young Dionysos has been so difficult to analyze; rather than an end unto itself, as a regular ‘album’ is, Young Dionysos is a record of an act, a captured fragment reflecting something larger than itself. It lacks the purposefulness of a compelling piece of art because it is only one of many records of Vály‘s art-making. Sonically similar work, like that of Witxes, is much more focused and more rewarding to listen to because it is meant to be heard and not seen, whereas Young Dionysos wants both but can only give you sound. No matter my interest in the larger work of Young Dionysos, this part of it does not feel whole alone, and alone is how I have chosen to consider it. For a better presentation of Sándor Vály‘s art and of the material in Young Dionysos, see the artist’s (NSFW!) website below. For a better taste of ambient, avant-garde music, see the last Witxes album.


Score: 2.5/5.0
DR: 14 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Ektro Records
Website: sandorvaly.com
Releases Worldwide: September 15th, 2017

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  1. Which I don’t discuss with fans.
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  • Alexandre Barata

    This might be great if you’re into some kind of strange frog-poop drugs. Other than that this is just a show that “artist” don’t know what to do nowadays to show their “emotions” (a.k.a. get money)

    • I like frog-poop drugs.

      • Alexandre Barata

        Meh, they’re pretty crappy!

      • Grymm

        Ditto. Our supplier, “Kermit” (real name unknown), lives in the brook in our backyard. He always has the good shit.

        • Alexandre Barata

          Buahahah thank you!!!

        • Nate Sweet

          I wouldn’t say he ‘always’ has the good shit. Recently he’s been selling a batch of really terrible albu…I mean drugs.

        • Master of Muppets

          Stop buying drugs from my frog dude, cat guy.

          • Grymm

            Well, tell my neighbor, Doggo, to stop licking him while Mammoth Storm is playing…

          • Grymm

            Well, tell my neighbor, Doggo, to stop licking him while Mammoth Storm is playing… http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2f4836b7d0ff83c4736dc7a819b1ac34849f62762728317c33833d2da89dd297.jpg

          • Master of Muppets

            That’s outside of my jurisdiction, yo. I just can’t be having Kermit relapse back into Kermy D Frawgg, the stress is too much on my tired little heart.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            The most interesting thing about this release is that I got to see a dog licking a toad.

        • Septic

          Out of curiosity…and a quick Google for Kermit selling drugs, I am pleased to share the results: http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7de5b5e8008a7446384cfc9d52cf14425a3c65573e09363b4958ca207cdc9347.png

          • Grymm

            SHHHHHHHH!!! Now he’s gonna move to our neighbor’s lake down the street and charge for a premium.

            Thanks a lot.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        There’s is no such thing as ‘too many rare pepes’.

  • wayne the devil

    I have to be honest…the rare moments when I get into art is when I leave the F out of fart…. aint no culture here!!

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      WHY DOES HE HATE PIANOS

      • wayne the devil

        The black and white keys remind him of his failed Black Metal career….Thus-Chester the Piano Molester is born…

  • Wes Allen

    This is just the sort of album your local art major raves about. He pretends he wants it to be more popular, but he’s secretly basking in the fact that only he “gets” it.

    • I hate that guy.

      • Master of Muppets

        But he provides us with such wonderful band photo insight!

        • wayne the devil

          The guy in the photo was rejected by Gwar, for his out of image costume and stage show so now he is having rejected artists syndrome.. a fencing mask + art performance=fart….

          • Master of Muppets

            I’m gonna make a wild assumption here and guess that homie in the photo has been rejected by more than just the likes of Gwar.

          • wayne the devil

            A case of Finnish blue balls? Mayhap?

          • Master of Muppets

            The bluest.

          • wayne the devil

            Cold winters in those Finnish woods….

        • Thatguy

          And that.

      • Thatguy

        I heard that.

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      you mean @Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra? That guy?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Just from the picture I can tell I’m not listening to it, not even out of (morbid?) curiosity…

        • RuySan

          I thought all the Juan Guerras of the world were like brothers (of metal)

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Juan Luis Guerra is more like a brother of merengue… and bachata.

          • RuySan

            Is there the “Manowar of merengue”? There should be a Manowar for each musical genre

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Impossible. By default and definition the only musical genre for which there could possibly be a Manowar it’s Metal. Could you imagine anyone singing “if you’re not into dubstep/country/reggae you are not my friend”?

          • RuySan

            “the gods made dubstep”, “Brothers of reggae”. Seems reasonable

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Could you imagine Justin Beiber* yelling at wimps and posers to leave the hall?

            * I know it’s Bieber but I like misspelling it out of spite ;)

          • RuySan

            I can actually imagine him doing just that:)

          • [not a Dr]

            -Grandfather… who were those four men?
            -Who were they? THEY WERE THE GYPSY KINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!
            -Bamboleo, bamboleo…

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Awesome!

          • [not a Dr]

            True merengue or no merengue at all!
            Non-wimps and non-posers: LEAVE THE HALL!

      • RuySan

        For a split second I thought you were referring to the guy who used to sing Borbujas de Amor.

  • jjohn

    lol finland

  • Joshua Walker

    It is fairly interesting background “music” when I am sitting here doing work. Then every several minutes, I check back on the video and see some creepy little guy playing with a piano. This sounds like it would be good to play while you are waiting to get in line at a haunted house. There is a high probability this will be my one and only listen.

  • The Unicorn
    • Thatguy

      Woo-hoo.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Now, someone give him an accordion.

        • Thatguy

          And burn it.

  • The Akerstache

    I can actually taste the pretentiousness.

  • Nukenado

    I’m not a fan of these “all-out” immersive art albums.
    It’s effective and breathtaking when done right, but because of its sheer scope, it’s hardly ever done right.

    Most times it’s like that one dude(s) who tries to create the next Elder Scrolls but just ends up making No Man’s Sky medieval version.

  • Mollusc

    Not going to get much wine out of that piano.

  • Yolo Swaggins

    This music is too sophisticated for me. I prefer the kind of music my mom calls “people who sound like they’re going to kill her”.

  • Ein Sophistry

    The website reveals that this guy is not only an ace piano mutilator but also a skilled and sensitive dick scribbler (as in, one who scribbles with his dick, not one who scribbles dicks). Truly a 21st century renaissance man.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    22 minutes of a guy taking a grinder to a piano? I wonder what poor Kronos did to deserve this…
    One sentence review: He wasted a perfectly good piano.
    One word review: Bullshit.

  • Kmill

    I am having trouble replicating minutes 8 through 10. Anyone have the sheet music?