Home of the Heart Music with Adela Mede

Home of the Heart Music with Adela Mede

‘Szabadság’ is a Hungarian word which loosely translates as liberty or freedom, and can also mean holiday or taking leave. Fittingly, it’s also the title of the debut album by Slovak-Hungarian musician Adela Mede, a piece of work which exudes an aesthetic freedom, venturing seamlessly between ultra-vivid field recordings, inventively distorted electronics & trilingual vocals, spoken and sung in Slovak, Hungarian and English.

It’s difficult to confine ‘Szabadság’ and Adela Mede’s work to comparison, but there are resemblances which may help place the parameters of where this album roams and thrives. Decomposed vocal treatments bring to mind the golden years of Coil, while the voice-centred combination of traditional influences and contemporary experimentation elicits parallels with the work of Fever Ray, Księżyc and Mede’s Night School label mate Cucina Povera. Nevertheless, ‘Szabadság’ sounds too striking, born out of a specific milieu and originally executed, for these similarities to stick and hold too much weight.

Recorded in Mede’s family home in Rusovce, a borough of Southern Bratislava that lies on the Danube – close to the Slovakian border with Hungary and Austria – ‘Szabadság’ is steeped in diaristic interiority, a work that distils evocative undertones of experience and environment. The sound of a delicate call-and-response vocal between Mede and her sister, and the vibrant aural backdrop of fields at the height of Summer are just some of the sounds that are entwined with bold manipulations of voice and synthesis.

Yet much like the imagery of shimmering iridescence depicted on the album artwork by Kvet Nguyen, ‘Szabadság’ is a document of fluid interplay, situated somewhere between memoir, collage and innovative sound art, where shades of personal perspective merge with the imprint of external realities. Here, multiple affinities are explored, including the bond Mede has with Slovak-Hungarian folklore, exemplified by the recording of folk dances Mede incorporates into the fabric of ‘Szabadság’.

With this playlist, Mede explores the sense of attachment she has with the culture and geography of her homeland, and the kinship she has found when listening to an eclectic assortment of formative musical discoveries. Contending thematically with a ‘home of the heart’, Mede assembles a poignant homage to personal roots and revelations, from Hungarian folk and ensemble choir recordings to Timbaland productions and rich ambient works. There’s plenty to unearth here, with selections (and reflections) that not only emphasize the emancipatory power of knowing your origins, but also highlight the importance of finding a place to feel at home elsewhere. Taking flight but always returning, to a place of peace and comfort…

Order the vinyl of her debut album ‘Szabadság’ on Night School Records here