I didn’t immediately recognize Eszter Balint’s name, but she’s been around the downtown NYC Avant Garde scene her entire life. Raised in a theatre space by Hungarian actors, she was djing between sets by Sun Ra and the Lounge Lizards by the time she was thirteen. She played the teenage cousin tagging along on an aimless road trip and playing “You Put A Spell On Me”, over and over again in Jim Jarmusch’s classic film, Stranger Than Fiction. More recently, she’s had a recurring role on the F/X series, Louie. Airless Midnight is Balint’s third album and her first since 2004.
Airless Midnight feels like an Absinthe-fueled hallucination. My favorite tunes have a dissipated folk and jazz flavor abetted by the guitar stylings of Chris Cochrane (John Zorn), Dave Schramm (Yo La Tengo) and Marc Ribot (Tom Waits). “Calls At 3am” is captivating with hazy, disconnected, one-sided narrative of someone trying to maintain connections, however tenuous. “Exit At 63” continues the theme of disconnection with its meditation on a man suffering early-onset dementia. The tune is a compassionate depiction of a sad situation. This is a record where small gestures and a few well-placed notes are more powerful than all the overdubs in the world. Airless Midnight is one of those quiet works that rewards repeated listening.