martedì 28 gennaio 2014

BLUE EFFECT, 1969

The history of Blue Effect is a good example of how musicians in Czechoslovakia were coping with the Soviet authority's decision of putting a stop to rock music.
The first single of the band, "Slunečný hrob" (transl. "Sunlit grave"), was an enormous success in 1969, but their existence as a mainstream act was a short term thing. After a couple of albums they were forced to change their style to an instrumental form of jazz-rock, for two good reasons.
First, the Soviets went extremely harsh with the censorship, forbidding politically conscious lyrics and basically every word about freedom. Second, the oppressors enstabilished a professional musician license, which was refused to every rock band who didn't compromise with the governement requests. The only chance to make professional music without being "one of them", was the instrumental way (that explain why jazz-rock and instrumental progressive rock was widespread there at the time). 

I have hereby uploaded the first single and the first EP of the band, with Vladimír Mišík on vocals. He left them in 1970, to join Flamengo, while guitar player Radim Hladík went on, releasing experimental albums throughout the Seventies.
"Slunečný hrob" is a wonderful, tragic ballad, reminding me of Scott Walker, David Bowie, and Procol Harum. "Sen není věčný" is a segmented pop gem that mixes baroque pop, samba influences, and science fiction elements. The other four tracks, sung in English, are not as interesting. But who cares, when you already have two little diamonds that you can repeatedly listen to?


DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

giovedì 23 gennaio 2014

KAPELA ZE WSI WARSZAWA - "WIOSNA LUDU" (2001)

On the back of the cover you can read that Kapela ze Wsi Warszawa (transl. Warsaw Village Band) combines respect for tradition with search for new ideas. Their unique sound is achieved combining a traditional singing technique called "white voices" and archaic instruments. Their performances joyfully interprets some old melodies, rediscovering trance elements from traditional Polish music.

There's not much to add. It's an amazingly played and produced modern folk record, with digitally processed traditional instruments, and some arcane, mystic atmospheres. You won't find too many albums like this one.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 320)

martedì 14 gennaio 2014

EWA BEM - "GRAM O WSZYSTKO" [Złota kolekcja, 1975-1987]

Ewa Bem is the queen of the Polish pop-jazz scene. If you appreciated Bemibem's album, you are already confident with her peculiar vocal style, velvety and dynamic at the same time. 

This collection offers an accurate view over the golden age of her solo career, featuring nineteen songs written by some of the best local composers and jazz musicians, such as Jerzy Wasowski and Wojciech Karolak. Nothing less than perfect, sophisticated pop music, with fusion-sounding guitars, seductive lounge keyboards, and occasional wind instruments sections.

DONWLOAD (kbps: 320)

domenica 12 gennaio 2014

TADEUSZ WOŹNIAK - "TADEUSZ WOŹNIAK" [aka "ODCIEŃ CISZY"] (1974)

Tadeusz Woźniak is a prolific Polish songwriter and composer who spent much of his career behind the scenes, creating music for theatre, soundtracks, and songs for other artists. In five decades of career he released only five albums under his own name. 

Released in 1972, his debut album was launched by "Zegarmistrz światła", a wonderful hybrid of baroque pop, folk and jazz music. The rest of the tracklist sounded a bit old-fashioned anyway, showing only a part of Woźniak's potential. 
This second studio effort is his real masterpiece. It is way less joyful than its predecessor, frequently adopting a gothic-folk feel and expanding its structures up to the progressive rock boundaries.
"Odcień ciszy" lasts fourteen minutes and is one of the best suites I've ever heard. Not only it is probably Woźniak's most ambitious work as a composer, but it also contains a thrilling orchestral arrangement by Henryk Wojciechowski, some tense electric guitar ornaments by Tomasz Jaśkiewicz (formerly an Akwarele member), majestic drumming courtesy of Aleksander Bem, and female vocal group Alibabki to add even more atmosphere.
The remaining songs are shorter but dramatic pieces of orchestral folk, in the name of severity and without ever compromising with easy pop temptations, making this one of the most beautiful and respectable albums to came out in Poland in the early 70s.

DOWNLOAD (kbps: 256)