Vágtázó Halottkémek

From Unearthing The Music

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Galloping Coroners (Picture by Janos Vetö)

Vágtázó Halottkémek (Galloping Coroners, VHK) were not only a musical or artistic phenomenon but also a social one. Founded in 1975, the band had to wait quite a long time for wide recognition. This only came with punk, when it turned out that the ecstatic and noisy music of the Hungarian ensemble resonated perfectly with the mood of the youth subculture. The band’s music was and is not just a kind of secular ritual acted out during live performances; it is an expression of a philosophy informed by mysticism, occultism and folk culture. Their music is loud, repetitive and ritualistic. Combining rock instruments with punk aesthetics, The Galloping Coroners seek to revive the trance traditions of folk music. A return to the sources and to folk music should be construed here as an act of resistance against the official policy of forcibly integrating folk culture with the culture of the socialist state in Hungary. Attila Grandpierre is the group’s main ideologist as well as pursuing a professional career as an astronomer. He also played a major role in Gábor Bódy’s film Kutya éji dala [Dog’s Night Song, 1983]. In 1985 the members of VHK were invited by György Galántai to explore together the potential of his metal sound sculptures. Parts of this show as well as other live material by VHK was released by Galantai on his tape label Artpool Radio.

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