giovedì 18 giugno 2020

BREAKOUT - "BLUES" (1971)

Tadeusz Napela was one of the most important bluesmen to ever originate from Poland and one of the best electric guitarists of his generation.
First he founded Blackout, with Stan Borys on vocals, who were active from 1965 to 1968. After Borys left the band, he became the lead singer and changed the name of the project to Breakout.
This is the second album by Breakout, and probably their most celebrated one. It's one of those rare perfect albums in which you wouldn't change one note: blues rock at its very best, with some hints of jazz here and there.

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lunedì 27 aprile 2020

YONDERBOI - "SHALLOW AND PROFOUND" (2000)

László Fogarasi Jr., better known as Yonderboi, is one of the most important electronic musicians from central Europe. 

In this debut album, Fogarasi is backed by some great jazz and rock musicians, such as keyboardist Balázs Zságer and guitar player Andor Kovács. Most tracks are instrumental, but there are also proper songs, performed by female vocalist Edina Kutzora.

"Shallow And Profound" was voted by now defunct magazine Wan2 as the greatest Hungarian album ever. I don't know if it is the greatest, but it surely ranks among the best ones. 
Particularly recommended if you are into downtempo, trip hop, modern electronic jazz, lounge music, and nocturnal atmospheres.

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venerdì 28 febbraio 2020

PRAŽSKÝ VÝBĚR - "PRAŽSKÝ VÝBĚR" [aka "STRAKA V HRSTI"] (rec. 1982, rel. 1988)

Pražský Výběr (aka Prague Selection) were a Czech rock band founded by singer and keyboard player Michael Kocáb during the late Seventies.
At first, they played mainly instrumental jazz-rock, as did most Czech rock bands of that era, but as the Eighties began they became aware of British post-punk, and incorporated it in their style.
The result was a strange kind of progressive post-punk, full of virtuoso guitar and synthesizer solos. In fact, Pražský Výběr were way ahead of British post-punk in terms of technical ability, and that made their music something exciting and peculiar.

This is their second album. It was recorded in 1982, but released only in 1988, as the authorities did not like their frantic and flippant style. Nonetheless, young Czech people adored them, and their concerts in underground clubs regularly sold out.
"Pražákům je hej" is still a rock anthem as of today, but the whole album is awesome. You will rarely hear anything like this. 

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lunedì 30 dicembre 2019

FERMÁTA - "HUASCARAN" (1978)

Fermáta are a rock band from Bratislava and their first four albums are all highly regarded by prog nerds. 
Entirely instrumental, "Huascaran" is their third studio work and it stands out for its dedication to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck Peru in 1970. In a nation such as Slovakia, where rock music had been put in chains, naming an album to the brothers of a distant country could be considered a political act. 

This line-up of Fermáta was composed by four fantastic musicians, able to merge the angular jazz-rock of Mahavishnu Orchestra and the jazz fusion smoothness of the Weather Report. Guitarist František Griglák dominates the former side, whilst keyboard player Tomáš Berka stands out on the latter. Some parts are closer to symphonic prog, submerged by layers of futuristic string synthesizers.

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mercoledì 27 novembre 2019

DEŽO URSINY - "PEVNINA DETSTVA" (1978)

Dežo Ursiny was one of the most consistent Slovak musicians, both artistically and from a human character perspective. In the mid Sixties he refused to leave his country to seek success in Germany, and during the communist normalization he had the courage to sing in English, condemning his music to be boycotted by the authority. 
He decided to sing in Slovak only in 1978, convinced by the lyrics his friend and poet, Ivan Štrpka, offered him. The result was this cult album, perhaps too complex to win over mainstream audiences. 

Symphonic prog, jazz fusion, and baroque pop are mixed in five tracks which combine the staple instruments of rock music with chamber strings, harpsichord, brass and wood instruments (including an unusual English horn). Keyboards are played by Jaro Filip, another legend of Slovak music.


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