sabato 9 aprile 2022

2021, SOME GREAT POLISH ALBUMS: BŁOTO, FISZ EMADE TWORZYWO, MUCHY, SOKÓŁ.

2021 has been a fantastic year for Polish music. I hope to worthily represent it through these four albums I picked (Fisz Emade are a longtime love for Soviet Sam, but the other three are all new entries, despite having solid careers behind them).


Błoto - "Kwasy i zasady"
DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)
Born as a spin-off project of Polish jazz ensemble EABS, they soon developed into a full-time band. Entirely recorded live in studio in just one take, this is their third album in two years, and probably their best one.
File under: nu jazz, jazz fusion;
try it if you like: hypnotic beats and nocturnal atmospheres.

Fisz Emade Tworzywo - "Ballady i protesty" (no. 1 on the Polish album chart)
DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)
Probably their most ambitious album (18 tracks, 97 minutes), equally divided among introspection and sociopolitical commentary (Fisz is particularly critical of the current Polish government, and I would say rightly so).
File under: hip hop, downtempoart pop, indietronica;
try it if you like: eclectic albums which are able to encompass a huge variety of styles.

Muchy - "Szaroróżowe" (no. 22 on the Polish album chart)
DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)
First album after a seven years hyatus for the band led by singer and guitar player Michał Wiraszko.
Their alternative pop music is as epic as ever, even thanks to an impressive set of collaborations: Emade (producer), Hey's members Paweł Krawczyk (producer) and Katarzyna Nosowska (vocals: track 2), jazzist Monika Borzykm (vocals: tracks 3, 5, 7, 9), Bela Komoszyńska from Sorry Boys (vocals: track 1), Lady Pank's Jan Borysewicz (lead guitar: track 1), Republika's Zbigniew Krzywański (lead guitar: track 11).
File under: indie rock, jangle pop;
try it if you like: powerful riffs and grooves, ethereal atmospheres.

Sokół - "Nic" (no. 1 on the Polish album chart)
DOWNLOAD (kbps: 231-280)
One of the most important Polish rappers. This album, entirely curated by expert sound engineer Rafał Smoleń, is his masterpiece.
Filder under: hip hop, wave music;
try it if you like the concept of rap music being influenced by synthwave.


VIDEO SECTION:

lunedì 22 novembre 2021

TAMÁS CSEH & JÁNOS MÁSIK - "LEVÉL NŐVÉREMNEK" (1977)

Singer and guitar player Tamás Cseh was a young teacher when he met the still unknown writer Géza Bereményi, in 1970. They started writing songs together, but they did not try to record them, since they feared censorship for their social contents.
After some years spent in the Budapest intellectual scene they finally started to gain some credit, and in 1975 they met multi-instrumentalist János Másik, with whom they entered the staff of renowned theather Huszonötödik Színházban.

"
Levél nővéremnek" was presented there in 1975 as a contemporary folk opera, performed by Cseh and Másik. Bereményi's lyrics were structured like a letter to an imaginary elder sister, to whom the main character narrates his everyday life in Budapest, his love stories, and his concerns.
In 1977 they were finally able to record it for the state label Hungaroton, without meeting any censorship (even though they probably had toned the songs down a bit, in order to avoid it).

The album was perceived as an artistic revolution in Budapest and basically marked the birth of Hungarian alternative music.
Sadly, it wasn't met with the same enthusiasm in the rest of the nation, that lacking the cultural ferment of the capital perceived the product as too elitist.

Produced by 
Attila Apró
Lyrics: Géza Bereményi
Music composed by:
János Novák (tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 18, 22)
Tamás Cseh (tracks 2, 4, 6, 8, 11-14, 16-17, 19, 21, 23)
János Másik (tracks 2, 4, 10, 15, 20)

Tamás Cseh
- vocals, guitar
János Másik - vocals, guitar, bass guitar, double bass, banjo, organ, piano, harpsichord, percussion

Additional musicians:
János Novák - cello
Tomsits Rudolf - trumpet
László Gőz - trombone


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

lunedì 25 ottobre 2021

OMEGA - "6: NEM TUDOM A NEVED" (1975)

Omega are the most popular and long-lived Magyar bands. My favourite phase of their career took place in the second half of the Seventies, when they became a staple of European prog and space rock. 

This album in particular is probably their best. It contains two space rock gems such as the title track and "Huszadik századi városlakó", but also shorter hard rock anthems and epic ballads.
It is sealed by a sensational sci-fi artwork, which perfectly represents a band at its creative peak, followed by an international cult (they had many fans in Germany and Poland too).

The line-up has been the same since 1971: János Kóbor (vocals), Tamás Mihály (bass guitar), György Molnár (guitars), Ferenc Debreczeni (drums), László Benkő (keyboards). Sadly, both Mihály and Benkő died in November 2020.


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

giovedì 14 ottobre 2021

EAST - "HŰSÉG" (1982)

Introduced by a wonderful artwork, "Hűség" ("Fidelity") is the second album released by progressive rock band East, from Szeged (Hungary). They never reached the mainstream audience, in spite of a rather approachable sound, but they have been able to build a small, loyal fanbase. 
The tracklist is composed by eleven songs, in which symphonic prog dynamics meets space rock technology, giving birth to evocative melodies with atmospheric guitars and keyboard layers.
The sound is definitely advanced for its time: it doesn't sound like the latest records of the classic prog at all, but rather like the first ones of the neo-prog movement. Compare it to bands such as Pallas, Iq, or Marillion, which all came later, and you will be surprised.


East:
István Király, drums
Péter Móczán, bass guitar
Géza Pálvölgyi, keyboards
János Varga, guitars
Miklós Zareczkyvocals

Producer: Ferenc Dobó


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

giovedì 30 settembre 2021

CELELALTE CUVINTE - "CELELALTE CUVINTE" (1987)

Celelalte Cuvinte (trans. "The Other Words") have been the most important rock band emerged in Romania during the Eighties. Not as popular as Phoenix, that at the time had already left the nation, Celelalte Cuvinte still managed to attract a loyal cult following during their long career (they had successful tours as late as the 2010s). 

This is their debut album, a perfectly balanced mix of prog, hard rock, and folk music (the last element was kind of mandatory for rock bands during the Ceaușescu regime, in order to preserve the national identity)
If you want to understand their sound, you can try to imagine how Rush would have evolved during the Eighties if they had embraced flutes and acoustic guitars instead of synthesizers.

Members
Marcel Breazu: bass guitar, celesta, vocals
Leontin Iovan: drums, percussion
Radu Manafu: guitars, vocals
Călin Pop: lead vocals, guitars, recorder
Ovidiu Roșu - 12-string guitar, vocals 

Tracklist
1. Scrisori iubite
(Ovidiu Roșu, George Topîrceanu)
2. Un sfîrșit e un Început
(Marcel Breazu, Leontin Iovan, Radu Manafu)
3. Dacă vrei
(Marcel Breazu
4. La ceas tîrziu
(Călin Pop)
5. În zori de zi *
(Călin Pop, Elena Farago)
6. Fîntîna suspinelor
(Călin Pop)
7. Despărțire
(Marcel Breazu, Călin Pop)

Produced by Romeo Vanica
* Featuring a poem read by Florian Pittiș
 
DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)