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Budapest: we won’t give up our future

Why are protests in Hungary quieter than in other countries? This recording by Ian Cook explores one such protest from the capital city Budapest:

“These are some sounds from the ‘Nem adjuk a jövőnk, itt maradunk!’ (We won’t give up our future, we’re staying here!) protest organised by Nem maradunk csendben (We won’t stay silent) and Oktatási Szabadságot (Freedom for Education).

This was a protest at the end of a spring of protests organised in Hungary. The two catalysts were the attack against the Central European University (and independent university that the government introduced a new law to try and shut down) and a law that sought to restrict the freedom of civil society. But the roots are much deeper, and include issues such as the squeezing of the free media, widespread corruption, gerrymandering and so on.

The protest itself was interesting sonically as they decided to have a sound system at the front of the demo, with DJs playing. “Nem maradunk csendben (We won’t stay silent)” had organised a big successful protest party a few weeks before in which they alternated between music and speeches.

Hungarian protests are – when compared with other countries – quite quiet. The sound system made it even quieter however, as people didn’t chant or sing much at all, even during the gaps.”

City version:

“I was fascinated by the idea that for whatever reason, protests in Hungary are quieter affairs than in most other places in the world (especially when you consider Hungary’s leadership gives its people plenty to complain about!).

“As such, I wanted to reflect this in the piece by creating a piece of ambient, almost relaxing electronica from the field recording (along the lines of Wolfgang Voight’s marvellous GAS project).

“Everything you hear here is from the field recording with no additional sounds.

“The melodies are sections of recording fed through vocoders and other effects, while the beats are from the protest’s sound system, hidden under a fog of filters to give them that dubby, ‘lost’ feel.”

Memory version: