Void Ov Voices by Attila Csihar recorded 29th-30th of March 2012 in Baalbek, Lebanon.
I started Void Ov Voices in 2006 to create ritualistic music for the moment, to play only live performances while capturing and interfering with the energy of the space and the time of the location.
The ﬁrst time I travelled to Lebanon was in 2008 for one particular reason: to visit the Trilitons and the giant Monoliths of Baalbek. I was deeply impressed by the level of ancient civilisations engineering technology and the intense magical atmosphere of the whole area.
I have been fascinated by ancient ruins, prehistorical sites and monoliths for a long time. In the last decades, I visited many of these places around the world. I always felt this very particular ﬁne physical energy among those ancient ruins, which interestingly opened my imagination and mind’s eye. Besides that, all these structures are footprints of a forgotten high advanced technology and civilisations. Moreover, these masses of stone often lie in alignment with astrological events and sacred geometry.
The Trilitons of Baalbek are extraordinarily special to me as they are pure evidence of technology from before the Roman period, a technology which could lift and transport blocks of stones, each weighing around approximately 900 tons (which equals approximately the weight of 900 VW Golfs, but in one piece!). To do that transportation itself today would be a huge challenge even with our cutting edge technology, if it’s possible at all.
There is a massive plateau in Baalbek made of these sized stones, on top of which the Romans built their famous Jupiter Temple, considered to be one of the largest Roman structures in the world.
Baalbek used to be called The City Of The Sun in ancient times, and I might have one theoretical question: could it be connected to the story of The Tower Of Babel?
There are many stories and theories around these mystical places. But, those stones have been just standing and waiting there in time and space throughout history. And they will be there till the end…
To make recordings as close as possible to these unique structures always triggered my mind.
When ﬁnally I could make a recording outdoor on the top of the “Stone of the South” in Baalbek, I fell into a trance kind of meditative state of mind, in that welcoming an enormous ancient energy which is present and is also captured on these recordings. Music is magical itself on many levels as it goes through all of our bodies, not only through the sensations of our ears.
As years passed, I researched Baalbek more. One of Hungary’s most signiﬁcant painters, Csontváry Kosztka Tivadar (1853-1919), was also deeply touched by the same spot in Lebanon. When I dug more into Csontváry’s life story, I found many similarities between his and my personality and artistic philosophy. He was profoundly spiritual yet not religious. He was an apothecary and scientist who started to paint in his middle age only because of a transcendental impulse he received. He gave up his pharmacist career and, for the rest of his life, focused only on art and painting to fulﬁl his soul’s desires and not for any other earthly or egoistic reason. He never had an exhibition, and he never intended to sell any of his paintings. He became a vegetarian and an outsider of society. Towards the end of his life, he even wrote some advanced philosophical writings challenging the hidden hands behind the governments and world leaders. Unfortunately and typically, he was only recognised decades after his death. His paintings were forgotten and almost sold as canvas to cover trucks after WWII. Then, at the last minute of an auction, somebody recognised their artistic value, bought up and saved these priceless paintings, which was like a miracle itself. Csontváry is now considered to be one of the most critical and inﬂuential Hungarian painters of all time! Sometimes I wonder how much invaluable art might have disappeared through the dark times of our history.
Anyway, Csontváry Kosztka Tivadar and Baalbek gave me such deep inspiration that in 2012 I decided to travel back to Lebanon to the same ruins to Baalbek to create a ritualistic recording and try to capture that energy for myself and for forever.
I chose this rare painting from Csontváry called “Sacriﬁcial Stone” for the album’s cover artwork. He painted this surrealistic painting in Baalbek too. No debt to me that he was inspired by “The Stone Of The South”, which became the “Sacriﬁcial Stone” in his vision.
When I ﬁrst saw that painting, I could not believe my eyes: in Void Ov Voices, I use blocks of sounds repeatedly to create a wall of sound. I could not visualise my music better than Csontváry on this beautiful painting.
I was not sure if I should ever release this personal recording but thank my friend Stephen O’Malley’s strong inspiration through the years. Finally, it can happen.
– Attila Csihar
Budapest, September 2021
Released February 17, 2023