by Thomas Bedward February 18, 2018
In recent years, the name Daniel Biro has become somewhat synonymous with contemporary compositions and musical experimentation. A London-based composer of Hungarian descent, Daniel Biro is something on an unbridled talent, with composer, keyboard player, producer, improviser, songwriter, sound-designer, label director, and video artist all being roles that he can proudly lay claim to. After a life spent living in Italy and France, Biro’s music is infused with a vibrant European sound and culture, a gift that has laid the groundwork for his eclectic legacy so far.
After receiving his first analogue synth at the age of twelve, Biro has gone on to spend a lifetime hooked on all things electronic. While his will to experiment has been an ever-present force, his skills and compositions were refined by working for local theatre companies and paying his dues in various experimental bands. After moving to London he found a home in the Sargasso music label, a company he founded in 1993, which has been releasing and promoting ground-breaking experimental music ever since.
Over the years, Biro’s work has led him to collaborations with contemporary dance choreographers, film makers, gallery artists, and even companies such as BBC, but it’s his solo work that really shines. With over twelve albums to his name, there is a palpable fervour surrounding ‘120 OneTwenty’ his latest and most modern record to date, and thankfully, it does not disappoint.
Within ‘120 OneTwenty’ Biro has managed to bring together three of the greatest progressive music traditions; Berlin-style electronics, prog-rock synths and jazz fusion keyboards. The album is a collection of ten tracks built upon these three musical hallmarks, with inspiration from Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze and other iconic German artists mixing effortlessly with Biro’s own style to form a tour de force of atmospheric brilliance. It’s a blending of distinct and usually separate worlds, with tracks such as ‘Barren’ and ‘Itinerarium’ bringing together organic, slowly evolving melodies with digital flourishes that help illuminate the dark atmospheres and bring modern energy to the timeless 70’s sounds. As with his other work, Biro’s signature Rhodes electric piano features heavily on the new album, but on ‘120 OneTwenty’ it’s sound seems to break new ground, tussled and tossed by the dizzying electronics and calculated minimalism to forge something that is vibrant and modern, but also warm and wonderfully familiar.
Textured, refined, and brilliantly layered, ‘120 OneTwenty’ manages to escape the usual trappings of most instrumental albums, carving its own path of awe-inspiring atmospheres and progressive, jazz-rock fusions. It’s not all perfectly polished and without fault, but the six years that Biro put into ‘120 OneTwenty’ makes it hard to find real issues in his work. It’s a unique vision brought into existence by a very talented composer, and while the initial steps into the album might throw some listeners askew, those that persevere will find themselves on a strange world to a very satisfying end.
You can grab your own copy of ‘120 OneTwenty’ now from Amazon and iTunes, and stream the album on Spotify.
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