Panta Rhei were a Hungarian rock band, known for their progressive rock recordings and adaptations of classical music, for which they created synthesizers, such as the Muzix81 system. The band name refers to the philosophy of Heraclitus.
Panta Rhei formed in Hungary in 1974, consisting of Kálmán Matolcsy who played keyboards and synthesizers, Alex Szalay on guitar, András Szalay on bass and Csaba Béke on drums. They designed and built their own kinds of synthesizers.
Between 1974 and 1982 they played various styles of music ranging from jazz to progressive rock. In 1976 Kiss Mikilos briefly joined the group, and contributed to a track for the Bartók album. Also in 1976 Eniko Acs joined the band as a vocalist and Csaba Beke returned on drums, contributing to the other tracks of the Bartók album recorded between 1975-1977. However, this album with adaptations of Béla Bartók's works was never released due to objections by the Bartók family. The recordings were released on the Epilogus 2 CD version twenty years later and are also available on Alex Szalay's website
By 1980 Panta Rhei released their first album titled Panta Rhei, having a sound different from the jazz rock and classical adaptations of the rock days of the band, with a more progressive pop sound. By then, Eniko Acs and Csaka Beke had left and were replaced by András Laar on guitar and vocals and András Schmitt on drums. Both Schmitt and Laar remained in Panta Rhei until 1981, assuming drummer Csaba Beke would return. The band broke up in 1982.
After Panta Rhei ended in 1982, in 1983 they continued recording under the banner of "P.R. Computer" and released an album of the same name which sold over 80,000 copies and established their noticeable work. The album was recorded with entirely electronic music, using the latest custom built synthesizers and computers, hence the new name "P.R. Computer". P.R. can be read as progressive rock or Panta Rhei.
Panta Rhei were influenced by progressive rock bands Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, The Nice, King Crimson, and others. ELP influences are blatantly heard in their early works, especially on the unrealeased Bartok album recorded in 1977, as the music is driven by Hammond organ, drums and bass in the same way ELP presented their music; also synths were a main part of Panta Rhei's music.
During their recording career Panta Rhei issued 2 LPs, 6 singles and recordings for film and ballet. Their albums sold over 100,000 copies in Hungary and Eastern Europe.
A compilation CD called Epilógus of previously unpublished material was released in 1998, featuring three fusion pieces from 1977, the unreleased Bartók recordings in their entirety and a 22 minute prog rock epic, Peer Gynt Suite recorded in 1976 and, ennobled to a must-hear for progressive rock fans, Epilógus features electronic music from 1983 until the latter 80s under the "P.R. Computer" banner. 2002 saw a release of a book about the band that included a CD with a collection of songs recorded 1975-79. Alex Szalay is now working as a Physics/Astronomy Professor at Johns Hopkins University, USA. There are rumors that organ virtouso and synthesizer wizard Kalman Matolcsy died on 12 September 2005, at the age of about 52, and that he has two sons and a wife.
|Panta Rhei - line up changes 1974-1989|
|Kálmán Matolcsy / keyboards (1974-)|
Sándor (Alex) Szalay / guitar (1974-)
András Szalay / vocals and bass (1974-)
Csaba Beke / drums (1974-1982)
Ács Enikő / vocals (1976-1979)
Kegye János / saxophone (1976)
Kiss Miklós / drums (1976)
Laár András / guitar and vocals (1980-1981)
Nagy József / flute (1974-1975)
Schmidt Andras / drums (1980-1981)
Until now Panta Rhei have never released these recording until the official site uploaded the recordings: