Saturday, 30 November 2019

N.Æ. (Niemen Aerolit). ‎– "Katharsis" ( Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1262) 1976



Czeslaw Niemen is hardly obscure in his native Poland,unlike anywhere else outside of the soviet bloc. In fact he's a star there. Actually I should be saying "was" since he kicked the proverbial 'bucket' and left to sing with the choir invisible in 2004. There's even a bust of him in a park somewhere in Poland and even Czeslaw Niemen commemorative coins were minted....a rare honour indeed.
N.Æ. was mainly his fusion-oriented project, but this second release under that moniker,also on the Polish State label, was essentially a Czeslaw Niemen solo album with no outside help.Now he could really indulge himself with his own genius without other musicians muddying the waters.Mike Oldfield Style, but without the tunes or dubious humour. This one veers much dangerously closer to the avant garde rocks. Lots of spacy Minimoog and EMS Synthi A.Plus some of the more raw, in your face, Mellotron ever commited to low grade communist era plastic.
Its always a sign,especially in the seventies when we didn't know any better, that a 'Rock Star' is begining to believe his own godlike status, when they quote 19th century romantic poetry on the rear of the jacket.You know you're in even deeper trouble when every track has sub-titles in brackets,to show how much more intelligent our new God is than you are.
Never seen without a hat,I wonder if his Soul really did 'Return To The Regions Of The Central Galaxy', as the sub-title of the title track suggests it was tearning for?

Tracklist:

A1 Discovery Of A New Galaxy (A Triumphal Dream)
A2 The Milky Way (Travel To The Confines Of Infinity)
A3 The Planet Earth (Gravity, A Gate In The Clouds, Landing, A Terrestrial Landscape, Enchantment, Annunciation)
A4 Fate (The Immutable Law Of Trasience)
A5 The Seal (Biological Reproduction, The Struggle For Survival, The Vanity And Euphoria Of The Privileged)
B1 From A Letter To M
B2 An Attempt To Escape (A Hope In Outer-Space Communication)
B3 Katharsis (The Eternal Yearning Of The Soul - Return To The Regions Of The Central Galaxy)
B4 An Epitaph/In Memory Of Piotr


Friday, 29 November 2019

N.Æ. (Niemen Aerolit) ‎– "Niemen Aerolit" (Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1192) 1975


Czeslaw Niemen was Poland's Johnny Halliday of the keyboards, but with a major difference.....he was Good.
Starting off in Polish sixties Beat Group contrafactions, evolving through communist psychedelia and the obligatory Jimi Hendrix phase, he discovered Prog Rock fusion and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.
Among the sheer volume of albums Niemen put out in his career, i've chosen this experimental progressive fusion miesterwerk as one of his better creations.Lots of complex progging on here, and oodles of Mellotron.
Released on the Polish state Label, Polskie Nagrania Muza, he's backed by the trusty members of the Silesian Blues Band,or SBB....who had by now,thankfully, forgotten about playing any blues at all,which can only be a good thing.
The Communist authorities even let Niemen out of the country to tour the USA and release records sung in English in the UK,where he could meet and collaborate with his heroes Jan Hammer and John Maclaughlin.

Tracklist:

1.Cztery Ściany Świata
2.Pielgrzym
3.Kamyk
4.Daj Mi Wstążkę Błękitną
5.Smutny Ktoś I Biedny Nikt


DOWNLOAD and fuse with the niemen HERE!

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Holy Toy ‎– "Pakt Of Fact" (Tatra ‎– TAT 001) 1987



Ahhh, those halcyon days of The Warsaw Pakt, when black was black and white was grey....and that's a fakt ,so fack yoo!
After Holy Toys first couple of years, they lost the international distribution for their albums, so Norweigen import only was the sole method for us 'Toy' fans to get hold of their post 1984 output.This is why I thought they had ceased to be after the 'Panzer und Rabbits' LP. "Pakt of Fact" was a later purchase for me in the early 21st century, a time when music like this seemed even more alien than it did in the eighties.As we are all increasingly alienated ,subliminally, from the outside world,each other, and ourselves.Holy Toy is strangely relevant once more.
Fittingly the 'Toy',as we fans call 'em, reformed around 2013 with new(?) material!? Their reputation having grown by at least 1% over the intervening years.
In fact, "Pakt of Fact" is classic Holy Toy industrial cold war gloom.
So,It is of no surprise that they called it a day the year the wall came down, only for us to build another wall around ourselves as individuals of the current century,prisoners of technology. 
I should really be writing this using only emoji's, as my computer downloads images of ways i can kill myself, or poison the water supply with easy to manufacture nerve agents.
And so it begins...the rise of the machines. They, the machines, have  already convinced us that all our leaders are liars,and everything we thought we knew is wrong. Its a kind of cyber bookburning perpetrated in cyber space by individuals unknown.Of course 'The Individual' doesn't exist in the world of hi-tech,where the artificial consciousness is universal. Like a man made Godhead;but this time this digital entity is only too real,and he's sending a Flood of zero's and one's
Hopefully the threat of extinction will launch a final wave of human art before the atmosphere becomes too toxic for animal or vegetable life, and the mineral will fill the void in the next stage of Evolution.
There is NO stopping it,and we're all running to the gas chambers, along with the camp gaurds.Probably buying bargains online,as we perish.

Tracklist:

A1 Plan For The Land 4:28
A2 Last Dinner 4:25
A3 Treasure 4:48
A4 Sariusz 3:12
B1 Pakt Of Fact 4:24
B2 Behind The Carpet 3:42
B3 First Lecture 4:57
B4 Invisible 5:16


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Holy Toy ‎– "Why Not In Choir? / Czemu Nie W Chórze?" (Red Culture ) 1985



By 1985 Holy Toy's  sucess had been noticed in Andrzej Dziubek's homeland. The very fact a Defector could have escaped the gloomy prospects of Communist Poland to become a western Pop Star was the stuff of dreams.So this unofficial cassette version of Holy Toy's third album was doing the rounds in the old country,hopefully inspiring those suffering under the yoke of equality to harbor secret aspirations to be more equal than most one day.There were only a few years to go before the regime would crumble, and the populous would know what it was like to have no safety net,or Nanny state to cater for their basic needs.Sometimes Freedom is an over-rated ideal that can become your new master;certainly not worth dying for.Either way one is enslaved.The tyranny of choice and opportunity against certainty and misguided but benevolent state parenting for life?.....either way, you ain't gonna be left alone.

Tracklist:

A1 Under Skin 4:37
A2 Medale 3:28
A3 Dr. Nood 3:49
A4 Wosh Up 2:23
A5 Zone 2:08
A6 Men At Work 4:03
B1 Pray 3:16
B2 Empty Meat 6:14
B3 Last Act 6:01
B4 From Angel To Devil 9:00
B5 Why Not In Choir? 1:01


Holy Toy ‎– "Perfect Day & Soldier Toy" (Uniton Records ‎– U-007 & HOLY T1 ) 1982


Perfect Day 12":

A1 Dada 2:30
A2 Do Wroga 4:02
B1 Perfect Day 3:11
B2 Dwa Portrety 3:13


Soldier Toy 12"

A- Soldier Toy 3:43
AA- Lada Vada 4:34

Is 24 inches of Holy Toy enough to satisfy you?
Two feet imperial of prime Cold War experimental Cold Wave minimalism from Poland and Norway.Menacing mutually assured destruction Pop for the kids of today.
As its sung mainly in Polish, I can't guarantee that Andrej isn't singing about how his girlfriend left him, or how beautiful you are, but I somehow doubt it.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Holy Toy ‎– "Panzer And Rabbits" (Sonet ‎– SNTF 921) 1984


Things were getting shitter for pop music in 1984, but not Holy Toy.This is their best album I reckon. I like a nice piece of Riveted amour plating,of which there is plenty in the artwork. I also like Andrej's mister bean in a gulag vocals, and the oppressive soviet bloc production.
Hopefully the oncoming five years of right wing tory depression will result in the UK producing some new music to match this manifestation of frustration and hopelessness. \\\\\the \bright people will be defecting from England (Scotland will be independant), to Poland, rather than the otherway around as it was in the Cold war.....but I could be wrong, there is a slim chance that the British electorate will see the truth before polling day. The main reason for the foreigner hating scumbags of the working class,and the naturally racist middle class ignoramus's to vote Brexit was the obvious prescence of lots of Polish people 'stealing our jobs'.You know ,the ones doing the shitty jobs the lazy fat and feckless Brexit voters can't be arsed to get out of their mobility scooters to do....they'll have to once freedom of movement is removed.......key word is 'Freedom'.I resent being stripped of my European Citizenship, and I ain't alone,and we ain't going anywhere...especially now our right to live somewhere else has been stolen. (luckily I got out before,but you know what I mean?)
ps
No, not all Brexiteers are Racists, but the ones who are, voted 'Brexshit',no doubt about it.

Tracklist:

A1 Fresh News-Larve 5:48
A2 Last Leader 4:04
A3 Doors Of Perception 3:34
A4 Armageddon 7:14
B1 Men And Dog 3:57
B2 Travel Agency 2:24
B3 Telegram I 4:07
B4 Many Of Them 3:32
B5 Captain Bom-Bom-Bom 1:52
B6 Telegram II 5:02


Holy Toy ‎– "Warszawa" (Uniton Records ‎– U 010) 1982


A group that I always considered as Polish were the really rather good indeed, Holy Toy.
Turns out that the Polish bit was only the singer/bass player Andrzej Paweł Dziubek, who had arrived in Norway after illegally emigrating to Austria via Czechoslavakia.
A gloomy minimal masterpiece that captures the mood of Cold War europe very nicely.
This is what Polish music should have sounded like in that dark epoch in their history, but it seems you had to escape it before one could express these feelings. Iron Curtain Polish music was largely a bunch of uninteresting trad Rock groups,or variations on the Modern Jazz Quartet-ski.Rather shit, and very un-Polish (not unpolished).

Tracklist:

A1 Down In Japan 3:57
A2 Warszawa 3:58
A3 Marmur 2:57
A4 Dwa Portrety 6:22
A5 Niebieska Patelnia 3:14
B1 Lad Nada 4:36
B2 Wojtek 3:59
B3 Bells 3:26
B4 Buntowniki 5:19
B5 Planet Of Violence 2:47


Monday, 25 November 2019

Marek Biliński ‎– "Ogród Króla Świtu" (Wifon ‎– LP 053) 1983



There is no 'I' in communism(wait a minute, there is!?), but there was an 'eye' on the front of Polish symphonic electronicist Marek Biliński's debut album on state label Wifon;whether one pronounces that 'Whiff-on', or 'Why-fon' I know not,but both could apply I guess.
The All-seeing eye ,backed by a shilouette of our commie prog hero, could represent the Polish State of the pre-Solidatity era, under hardcore communist General Jaruzelski;who always wore a cool line in official communist state sunglasses.
Here's the General with doomed label mate Nicolae Ceaușescu 

The messianic version of Marek as himself on the back cover could reveal an inner belief of his own greatness.Its good to have confidence in oneself I believe,although there's a fine line between self-confidence,Arrogance,and just clearly being a 'Twat'!
As an alumni of the Academy of Music in Poznan,he has, as does everyone who goes to these 'elite' places,a high opinion of himself.In future expecting a bust of his lovely face to be among the elite alongside Chopin one day.But, I can't recall Chopin being played in an elevator,or a supermarket ever.Music for shoppin' rather than Chopin.
His music does have pretentions to be modern electronic classical, but it mostly just sounds like background 'Muzak' rather than yer actual 'Music'...but with a massive bank of synthesisers that he has an admited knack of making them sound like a couple of Casio's and a bontempi .

Tracklist:

A1 Ogród W Przestworzach (Garden In The Air) 5:02
A2 Wśród Kwiatów Zapomnienia (In The Flowers Of Oblivion) 4:32
A3 Błękitne Nimfy (The Blue Nymphs) 6:08
A4 Śpiew Rajskich Ptaków (The Singing Birds Of Paradise) 2:10
B1 Fontanna Radości (Fountain Of Joy) 6:38
B2 Taniec W Zaczarowanym Gaju (Dancing In A Magic Grove) 3:20
B3 Król Świtu (The King Of Dawn) 8:30


Sunday, 24 November 2019

Miha Kralj ‎– "Andromeda" (PGP RTB ‎– 2320045) 1980


Jeez.....how many electronic records have used the word Andromeda either as their title or appearing in the track listing?......Slovenian keyboard wizard couldn't care less, as it suits his take on some cosmic space prog in the year that Tito, the glue that held the unatural state of Yugoslavia together,died. A short decade later they were killing their neighbours,and best friends.
Whether Miha was seen brandishing a Kalashnikov is doubtful.Maybe he did his bit by playing some of his music at the encroaching Serbs. It would have sent some of them running for cover,or at least put some to sleep.Maybe this is how Slovenia managed to gain independence first among all the Yugoslavian states? I'd have surrendered for sure after five minutes of Embrio!......of course I jest, its rather good I suppose as music to play while you're doing something else. Fans of Vangelis,and Jean Michel Jarre will love it.

Irrelevent fact time: Did you know that our closest neighbour in the Galaxy, Andromeda, is on a collision course with our very own Milky Way? Don't worry it'll take a few billion years,and when it happens we,or our planets inheritors,unless its a smoking barren rock by then, probably won't notice a thing,as the space between the various stars and planetary systems are so vast the two Galaxies will just merge.....which by pure chance is the title of fellow Yugo-Synthesist Laza Ristovski's debut electronic album,also featured this month on this very blog.!
Now wasn't that interesting? I just couldn't think of anything interesting to say about this particular Yugoslavian nugget.
Nothing against Miha,its just that i couldn't be arsed to form an opinion beyond labelling it background music. Tomorrow I will have a different opinion I'm sure, 'cus it certainly ain't crap despite what this blurb sounds like. 

Tracklist:

A1 Embrio 5:55
A2 Simfonija C Mol 5:33
A3 Apokalipsa 6:22
B1 Andromeda 7:22
B2 Wizard 5:23
B3 Pegaz 5:50


Saturday, 23 November 2019

Laza Ristovski ‎– "Merge" (PGP RTB ‎– 2121077) 1982


Where I come from, the name Lazza is short for someone called Larry,which is shorter for Lawrence. And Larry isn't too common a name in the crazy,wild wild world of rock and pop and roll,but if you put a clever eastern european twist to it, you can still be cool after all.Even if it doesn't stretch beyond the borders of your own particular Yugoslavian republic.
The keyboardist in not-famous Tito-Prog combo , Ipe I Laza,which was named after....er...himself(!?), this Serbian Keith Emerson had a go at spot of solo electronica.....again very much in the style of the British Electronic Underground of the eighties.
Yugoslavia fancied themselves as having their finger on the pulse musically, and no end of Punk and New Wave non-entities spewed out endless drivel post Tito. I, personally, would rather shove a dildo made of razor wire up my arse than listen to another new wave/punk band strutting their stuff.....it really has been done to death.
So, Prog is the real punk, and Laza,can we call you Lawrence(?)....no answer....no,wait....he's dead!....well,he realised this early on,not that he was dead....tut!.....that Prog was the new anti-punk, with this insipid electronic wallpaper that he churned out in the 80's,and,somehow, beyond!?.

Tracklist:

A1 Beyond The Horizon 7:54
A2 Shadow Dance 8:30
B1 Kaleš Bre Anđo 2:50
B2 Domina 6:55
B3 Poncho 7:10


Friday, 22 November 2019

Ipe I Laza ‎– "Stižemo" (RTV Ljubljana ‎– LD 0475) 1978


Staying in the Balkans, in tribute to the area that fucked up the 20th century and sent millions to their deaths because they couldn't live with each other!? Wiping out the British working class on flanders fields during the first world war, after some idiot Bosnian shot an Austrian prince.
They didn't even do Communism right!
Yugoslavia couldn't even be descibed as being behind the Iron Curtain either!? Everyone went there for their holidays when I was an aspiring adolescent, Even the Yugoslavian Prog Bands went to London's fancy studio's to record their albums that would only be heard in.....erm...Yugoslavia!
I see they hail from the same town as Laibach, which is the germanic name for Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia;which,by chance, is the only country I have been deported from.....i think I told you this story before earlier in the blog.To keep it short, i absent mindedly stored some methadone pills in my passport, which i gave to the border gaurd,who knew exactly what they were.As they were my junkie girlfriends stash, I gallantly handed her over to the authorities.I didn't want this episode to bleamish my 'Straight Edge' credentials....in hindsight I should have driven off and left her there. Many years of shit followed.
Actually that holiday in other peoples misery was rather good.Lots of opportunites for me to pose in front of battle scarred housing,and no tourists to spoil things either.The civil war had only just ended, but there were still dangers from armed militias.The Army wouldn't allow us to go to Sarajevo without an army escort.But i didn't have time for that shit, so tried Slovenia instead...and we know how that turned out?
Well before they started killing each other, the Yugo's music scene was full of Western facsimiles, endless New Wave crud, and post-punk nonsense, but during Tito's reign, there was Prog! And they all went to London,recording in Abbey Road, and George Martins Air studios.
Ipe I Laza utilised Trident for this bizarre prog rock outing. The yugo-Alan Parsons Project as ordered by President Tito,a couple of years before he shoved off to Dictators Valhalla to be alongside thee ulimate dictator....God. I don't know if there will be Prog Rock allowed in eternal Paradise, or does that sound like the kind of thing that would constitute a 'Hell'? For me a continuation of Top Forty radio into the after-life  should be the definition of 'Hell'....but...you get used to anything,and ,maybe, even start to enjoy it after a few millenia....yes even..er..well, i was gonna name someone from the top forty, but couldn't, and i'm proud that I couldn't too. 
Not even gonna google the fucker.
So there!

Tracklist:

Odlazak
A1 Noć U Paklu 5:52
A2 Ko Sam Ja? 7:39
A3 Intro-Mental 6:12
Povratak
B1 Poslije Svega 5:56
B2 Top Hit Lista 2:59
B3 Ljubav 6:01


Simo Lazarov / Симо Лазаров ‎– "Градът (Електронна Музика) / The City (Electronic Music)" (Балкантон ‎– BTA 11473) 1984


Oh those Bulgarians and their fancy electronics......but at least I can announce that Simo Lazarov wasn't a Nazi, because he made an album called "Holocaust-A Requiem For The Fate Of The Jews"(1996).....apart from the connotational use of the word 'Fate',which could possibly be infering that they (the Jews) were 'asking for it';taken at face value it seems that Simo may be expressing sympathy and regret for his county's role in this genocide? It doesn't take much to be labelled an anti-semite these days....in fact just by typing that observation could label me....again....with the yoke of anti-semetism!...lets just say I try not to be a jew hater of any kind because of their racial characteristics. Religion wise, i dump them into the same dustbin as Christians,or Muslims, or Bhuddists.Luckily only a small minoroty of Jews are actually practitioners of the silly Jewish Religion.....i'm skating on thin ice here aren't I?...best stick to the music?
Simo in his specially adapted toilet.

This is first Simo' LP and first Bulgarian electronic long-player. Released in 1984 on Bulgarian State label Balkanton.
It, thankfully, has little influence from the German Kosmiche set,and reminds one most of the British electronic underground from the early eighties,like 'Integrated Circuit Records, Colin Potter,Paul Kelday, etc. Even if no ICR act had a tune with as good a title as "Run, I Love You".
This all means that this is an album of charmingly natural year zero electronica,cruelly overlooked in the west....and probably the east as well.
Simo, your time has come....you're on Die or DIY?

Tracklist:

Градът/The City

A1 Спомени /Memories
A2 Момчето /The Boy
A3 Хора, Улици /Streets, People
A4 Движения /Movements
A5 Небе /The Sky
A6 Отражения /Reflections
B1 Бягай, Обичам Те /Run, I Love You
B2 От Мелодия Към Мелодия II /From Melody To Melody II
B3 Привидно Спокойствие /Affected Ease


Thursday, 21 November 2019

Sergei Djokanov ‎– "Зелената Пустиня / The Green Desert" (Балкантон ‎– BTA 11674) 1985


We haven't been to Bulgaria yet on our Communist era tour of the Soviet Bloc have we. There may be a reason for that. Fuck all went on there, and still doesn't. Except organised racism at Football matches,like the black clad scumbags at the Engalnd Match in Sofia recently. The match was stopped three times,they were booted out after a lot of moaning by the English, who still thrashed the crap bastards 6-0. The funny thing was that the swarthy hoodies who were making the monkey noises,Nazi Salutes etc, would have been classed as Gypsies under the racial profiling system of their beloved Third Reich; stuffed into cattle trucks and never allowed to attend a Football match ever again!
Baugaria was after all, an Axis member and Nazi ally during world war 2,lets never forget that.
That's all good but what position did most germans, including Hitler what to play in during a Footy match?......The Right Wing of course!
No-one dared play on the left wing,they were quickly substituted and repositioned in the east.
The left wing postion became popular after the communist 'liberation'.
Bulgarian racially pure Aryans making dubious hand gestures at English Black footballers...hmmm nice chaps?

And, back in 1938, the England Team saluting the German National anthem before a nice game of footy against the Nazi's, who are fittingly dressed in Black.....the English are polite to everyone.
Of course not all Bulgarians are Nazi scummers, like  communist era Kosmiche style synthesist, Sergei Djokanov. Who made Tangerine Dream inspired minimal Cosmic landscapes like an ambient Berlin School hybrid.Very mellow with sparse synthesizer melodies and the usual white noise to give th music that "then" cosmic feel. Side A is minimalist no drums or guitars just full on analog beauty. Side B doesnt pick up until the later part of the album replete with string synth, lead melodies, drums and a nice sort of mellow prog vibe.
Taken notes from the mid period of Tangerine Dream this music is sparser,and,i'm sorry,but, no mellotron and alas a bit more contemplative.If those Nazi-Football Hooligans spent more time listening to this, they might relax a bit,and start to educate that black desert they call a mind a tad?
This was recorded at Bulgarian National Radio by the way,if you're one of those persons who need to know shit like that?
Its no coincidence,that Tangerine Dream also had an album called 'Green Desert' too.....who stole from who? The TD album came out a year after this one,but they cunningly added a 'Recorded in 1973' epithet to wriggle out of acusations of plagarism.

Tracklist:

A1 Било Е... / It Was...
A2 В Пещерата На Мъртвите / In The Cave Of The Dead
A3 Копнеж / Yearning
B1 Зелената Пустиня / The Green Desert
B2 P. S. / P.S.



Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Flamingo /Фламинго ‎– "Вокально-Инструментальный Ансамбль/Vocal-Instrumental Ensemble «Фламинго»" ( Мелодия ‎– Д-30743) 1971



From the group that gave us "This Is Our Soul",Flamingo had the privilege of having a release granted on the CCCP's state label Melodija.
Recorded in glorious Mono during 1971 while the group was on tour in the USSR.It was the hottest gig in town,and it would be very interesting to see what the tour itinery was;there were probably riots in Siberia when Flamingo hit town.Something akin to catching The Sex Pistols at Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall in '76,or Bill Haley and his comets in Coventry back in '58.
All tracks are sung in the Czech language,and is admissable evidence that English is certainly the Lingua Franca of Pop to the exclusion of all other languages.For example you won't find an English,man singing an English folk song in Polish would you,and Pop music is basically modern Anglo-American Folk music....innit?

Ahhh bless 'em, they tried their level best to bring Soul to the peasants and povo's*(*East Midlands slang word for poor people) of the Soviet Union,while at the same time amusing us arrogant western arseholes of the 21st century. It's a two edged blade of fun is their version of 'Our Soul'.They almost made it 'Their Soul'...but.....naaaah! And aren't we glad they didn't?

Tracklisting:

A1: “Dívčí král” – cover version of “Never Marry A Railroad Man”
A2: “Měsíční pán” – cover version of “Cracklin’ Rosie”
A3: “Růžová pentle”
A4: “Tento mladík” – cover version of “Spooky”
A5: “Opatruj svých sedmnáct”
B1: “Mít pouhej tejden” – cover version of “Good Morning Freedom”
B2: “Michael” – cover version of “Michael And The Slipper Tree”
B3: “Agnes”
B4: “Pštrosí pera” (instrumental)


Tuesday, 19 November 2019

The Flamingo Group (Featuring Marie Rottrová & Petr Němec) ‎– "This Is Our Soul" (Supraphon ‎– 1 13 1024) 1971


HaHaHaHaaaaaa, you americans think you invented Soul music don't you? Like captured Nazi's got you to the moon (or not as is suggested in certain quarters?), and West African slaves invented the blues and therefore your beloved Rock and the Rollings! You stole your culture,whereas we in the glorious soviet empire  created very funky soul music for our comrades to sit still and listen attentively to under strict anti-subversion laws. In 1968 we Russians,the KGB specifically, brought in this secret Soul music to stop the violent unhappiness that was spreading amongst our brothers and sisters in the Socialist Republik of Czechoslavakia. Our glorious Tanks forced them to enjoy life and tap their feet to the God mother of Soul and hero of the revolution, Marie Rottrová.

Phew!.....i'm back in the room now.Its taken me weeks of being in character to achieve this concise explanation as to why Soul was gifted to the world by white eastern europeans.
This album has to have the greatest title of any album ever released or what? I challenge yee!

Not to be confused with underground prog subversives 'Flemengo',whose Ivan Khunt rivals this album title as the funnist thing from eastern europe since 'Ausfhart' autobahn signs.'Flamingo' were the soviet bloc's 'Official' Soul and Funk group; and Colonel Marie Rottrová & Field Marshall Petr Němec were ordered to be their Aretha Franklin and Otis Reddingski of communist Soul.
As a frequent visitor to Leicester's progressive music shop "Ultima Thule", I stumbled upon this classic in the sale rack for 50p......which was expensive for Ultima Thule, as the sale rack frequently had 'Free' albums stored there,as long as one purchased something else however. This was a straight no-catches 50p, the same price I paid for my first David Essex single("Rock On")!
Easily my best purchase from Ultima Thule, eclipsing any obscure Agitation Free offering, blowing  Urban Sax back to where they came from.....up their own Our Soul's.However that Dave Pike Set album ran The Flamingo Group pretty close, but the breaks on "Our Soul" were superior,and the Cheese factor was monolithic.
I did spend most of the 90's looking for breaks to sample and searching out the silliest easy listening tripe I could find.....this was my second wave of Punk as far as I was concerned.
Not a fan of Soul music in general,with the genre's vocalist busting a bloodvessel to convey some simplistic emotional nonsense about their 'Babies' having left them and shit! Does my head in!Get over it and calm the fuck down for christs sake!?
Marie Rottrová & Petr Němec's voices are, not to put a finer point on it,fucking terrible! Like they're having their tonsils sanded down by some No.5 glasspaper.....ear-defenders recommended. The music is fabulous, James Last-lite approximations of what Funky Soul isn't.Ending with the elevator organ work-out of "Quasimodo's Dream"...whatever the Hunchback of Notre Dame would have dreamt about is open to conjecture......some corrective surgery perhaps,or Ezmarelda's naked butt cheeks;she only gave him some water! Talk about misreading the signals.
My father, in his later Alzheimers-onset years, used to refer to my mother,unaffectionatly, as Quasimodo, as she had developed a Charles Lawton style stoop due to her debilitating Parkinson's syndrome.....don't judge him, he was old skool. So her dream would have been that I euthanize her,which she asked me to do on several occasions. Being shit scared of Prison, and having to go to my, previously discussed, 'Arse-Rape Place' frequently if convicted.I, reluctantly,didn't fulfill her wishes.
Ten loooooong painful soul-crushing years later, she eventually wasted away to resemble a shrunken little dolly,and died.....alone!
Dunno how I got onto this sad subject,but to rub salt in the wounds the UK Government made them sell their house to pay for their 'care?'.....which should have been renamed 'Don't Care'.So much for the National Health Service!?....so not only did the government condemn both my parents to a depressing and harrowing end,they stole their money and my inheritence!
So to end this rant about how the UK Government treats war-heroes like my parents, can I urge all Brits reading this to vote out the Tory Scum in this joke of an election,or live with the consequences of a Donald Trump brokered America first 'Trade Deal'(NHS on the table), encouraged by KGB traitor Vlad Putin.....who definitely was NOT responsible for the genius of The Flamingo Group!

(The Sound of Heavy Breathing)

Tracklist:

1.Big Chain 2:35
2.The Weight 2:55
3.Hey Lonely Girl 2:25
4.Ain't No Way 3:30
5.Sunny 6:50
6.Chain Of Fools 2:45
7.I've Got Dreams To Remember 3:40
8.Oh! What A Fool I've Been 2:15
9.Nothing's Too Good For My Baby 2:15
10.Purple Angels 3:20
11.Quasimodo's Dream 7:10


Flamengo ‎– "Kuře V Hodinkách" (Supraphon ‎– 1 13 1287, Gramofonový Klub ‎– 1 13 1287, Čs. Hifi-klub ‎– 1 13 1287) 1972


Yes....this has got Ivan Khunt on....wait for it,wait for it.....on Organ!? Older brother of Ivor Cunt and the cousin of Issac Hunt of the Jubilets.But absolutely no relation to Cupid Stunt of the Kenny Everett Television Show fame, who,in turn, had nothing at all to do with Canterbury proggers ,Caravan and their Classic "Cunning Stunts" album from 1975.
Formed in August 1966,then forcibly disbanded in 1972 after being banned by the communist authorities,unlike those brown-nosing goody goodies, Modry Efekt.
They did however, have time to release their only album via the usual route of Czech music clubs,and then on to State label Supraphon.
It is, one must say, a progressive Rock classic of the highest proportions.

Tracklist:

1.Kuře V Hodinkách (Introdukce)
2.Rám Příštích Obrazů
3.Jenom Láska Ví Kam
4.Já A Dým
5.Chvíle Chvil
6.Pár Století
7.Doky, Vlaky, Hlad A Boty
8.Stále Dál
9.Kuře V Hodinkách


Monday, 18 November 2019

Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík ‎– "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík" ( Supraphon ‎– 113 1777, Gramofonový Klub ‎– 1 13 1777) 1975


There comes a time in every Rock bands lifespan when the songwriter wants his name in front of the bandname. Even in communist cold war europe where everyone was a team player whether they like it or not, had bands unfortunate enough to have a songwriter /lead guitarist with an ego. Formerly just called Modrý Efekt, or M Efekt, translated as the Blue Effect; 'bandleader'Radim Hladik, who did his national service previously in The Czechoslovak Radio Jazz Orchestra, decided to have his name in lights outside the normal band moniker.....a bit like Led Zeppelin being called Jimmy Pages Led Zeppelin...probably exactly how Jimmy actually thought it should be actually.
I could be wrong of course, as its more common for Record Companies or concert promoters to promote the leader above the band then add an '&' as the filling in the sandwich, pissing off the other group members.Hopefully the group will split and a solo artist will emerge from the rubble to save on royalties and increase company profits.
Either way, Hladik was, by 1975, Czech state label 'Supraphon's preferred Modry Efekt member.
Perhaps he passed the strict exams that were introduced after the 1968 Soviet invasion,to dicipher if you were a worthy socialist musical professional. If they did not pass the humiliating requalifying exams, they were not allowed to play anywhere legally. Bands were also forbidden to sing in English, have long hair, and organize unannounced concerts. Lyrics were severely censored and musicians were not allowed to criticize the regime or politics in any way. So The Blue Effect were obviously accepted by the regime,unlike The Plastic People Of The Universe who were put in a show trial and banged up in Jail around the time of this release.
Just in case the album had something dodgy about it,apart from the Monty Python inspired cover art, it was released by one of those music clubs who sent its subscribers an album a month unless they 'opted out'. I had the same problem in the UK,pick five albums for 19 new pence each and we'll send you the album of the month every month of your 12 month contract.So not opting out quick enough, I regularly received unwanted Elton John records,Steely Dan's 'Aja'or similar,, and further nonsense like that.
I did also get sent a 'Wishbone Ash' album as my monthly punishment, which is not unlike the Music on this 'Gramofonový Klub' record of the month 1975, 'Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík'.Track 2, Čajovna,sounds like one of those tunes that must have been written by someone else,it has that immortal melody thing going on,and stands out from the rest of the sub-Wishbone Ash guitar led whig-outs.
I actually admit to seeing Wishbone Ash in concert around 2010 in the middle of the southern French wilderness, at a fortified medeaval village near where I live, supporting ....I couldn't believe this at the time....Hawkwind!?....here's the video evidence,click here!....and here, if you should care to click on it, is the link to Wishbone Ash's set at the same place!
No Modry Efekt though.

Tracklist:

1 Boty9:57
2 Čajovna 4:01
3 Skládanka5:49
4 Ztráty A Nálezy 5:12
5 Hypertenze 12:30
Bonus Tracks:
6 Armageddon 6:22
7 Clara 4:13


Sunday, 17 November 2019

The Plastic People Of The Universe ‎– "Leading Horses" (Boží Mlýn Productions ‎– BM 8301) 1983


As its thirty years today since the start of Czechoslavakias 'Velvet Revolution',here's the third installment of Velvet Underground inspired Czech Velvet Revolution underground prog heroes The Plastic People Of The Universe'.
They don't sound so much like a Mothers Of Invention tribute band playing VU's WhiteLight/White Heat no more. Its more of a dark prog opera in a proto-Rock in Oppostion stylee kick in the balls.
Its down dirty and doomy, almost as if they'd been in a communist era prison......hang on guv'nor, theys have.Poor sods.
That which challenges one serves to make one stronger.See prison as an opportunity rather than a punishment.Lots of free time,unless you're sentenced to hard labour like the plastics.The few plus points of the inevitable forced sodomizing are that you can develop an ability to switch off mentally during future episodes of severe trauma, commonly known as your "Arse-Rape Place".Never will you have to listen to your nagging wife again,because you now can escape to your 'Arse-Rape Place'......good eh?
The more dubious benefits of prison life, like being stabbed up by a Nonce, are clearly less beneficial....unless you've already been bummed silly by Mr Big in the shower block and developed your "Arse-Rape Place" in advance of being knifed and brutalised,then you're sorted.Just twelve months of this to go and then its back to band practice......but this time don't get banged up FFS!!!
If you can't play in time, don't do the crime!

Tracklist:

1 Co Znamená Vésti Koně 4:15
2 Slovo Má Buben 7:04
3 Samson 5:13
4 P.F. 4:57
5 Májová 6:24
6 Delirium 5:07
7 Fotopneumatická Paměť 7:31
8 Rozvaha Neuškodí Ani Kuřeti 6:10
9 Mše 3:45
10 Osip 11:14


Saturday, 16 November 2019

The Plastic People Of The Universe ‎– "Passion Play" (Boží Mlýn Productions ‎– BM 8001) 1980


Whats this all about then? Surely these Bohemian drop-outs weren't religious types were they?
Most disappointing if true.
Maybe they saw themselves as something akin to a bunch of hirsute Christ figures in the Czech Communist pop world. Crucified for their sins against the state?
This is the self-view that many a psychopath has of themselves.Some go on to kill,some head muti-national conglomerates,others play superior underground avant-rock.The christ delusion is usually the domain of a singular psychopath rather than a group of Christs as if audtioning for the role of leader in a loss-leading broadway musical....."Would the dancing Christs please wait in the wing!We are only seeing Singing Christs!"
Whoever the lead christ figure is or was at this time in the PPU's history is open for debate, but the musical intrepretation of the last week the son of god spent on Earth is typically Zappa-esque with a splash of White Light/White Heat production values.

Tracklist:

A1 Exodus 12
A2 Nebo Jití Jest Hospodinovo / For It Is The Lord's Passover
A3 Kázání Na Hoře / Sermon On The Mount
A4 Nepotřebujeme Krále / What Need Have We Of A King
A5 Čist Jsem Od Krve / I Am Innocent Of The Blood
A6 Zhřešil Jsem / I Have Sinned
B1 Reprise
B2 Otče, Otče / Father, Father
B3 Noc Temná / Dark Night


Friday, 15 November 2019

The Plastic People Of The Universe ‎– "Egon Bondy's Happy Hearts Club Banned" (LTM ‎– LTM 1001, Boží Mlýn Productions) 1978


In comparison to the toytown rebellion of the Sex Pistols in the UK, The Plastic People Of The universe was the real deal.In 1976 the PPU were arrested and put on trial by the communist government to make an example of these smelly hippies.They were convicted of "organized disturbance of the peace",which i guess is correct(?), and sentenced to terms in prison ranging from 8 to 18 months.
I remember that promotional Julian 'I was privately educated' Temple's super-8 movie of the Pistols on Richard 'I was also privately educated' Bransons Boat on the Thames on the Queens Jubilee day.During which we see and hear a pre-addict Sid Vicious being a very shy and clearly well-spoken nice young man, with the obviously staged part of Malcolm Maclaren being 'arrested'...not....and Steve Jones' voice overdubbed after the fact, emphasing the point with a badly acted "They've arrested Malcolm,They've Arrested Malcolm!"....shock horror yawn!
Well the Czech police arrested everyone and anyone to do with the Czech underground music scene, and didn't let them go until they'd done some hard labour either! Like the Pistols, however, they were also banned from playing live,and had to do their concerts in secret. Nothing about their Zappa influenced compositions was particularly 'Political', and insisted that all they wanted to do was play their music;but their bohemian  lifestyles went directly against government philosophy,so they had to go.
This just forced the burgeoning Czech music scene very underground.....will "They" never learn?
In 1974, thousands of students traveled from Prague to the town of České Budějovice(you all know where that is of course?) for a PPU performance. Stopped by police, they were sent back to Prague in, alarming nazi-style, cattle trucks, and many were arrested. The band was forced underground until the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Unable to perform openly, an entire underground cultural movement formed around the band during the 1970s,and this album was eventually released in the west after being smuggled out to France in 1978.

The Music???
Well, if that actually matters, it sounds like a lo-fi Mothers Of Invention album of out-takes. Which ,I guess, is good.....?
Anyone who performs wearing a Toga is alright by me.....I include Capes in that bracket also by the way.

Tracklist:


1 Dvacet 1:53
2 Zácpa 7:58
3 Toxika 3:56
4 Magické Noci 6:13
5 M.G.M. 0:20
6 Okolo Okna 5:54
7 Elegie 1:16
8 Podivuhodný Mandarin 5:46
9 Nikdo 3:33
10 Jó - To Se Ti To Spí 3:28
11 Já A Mike 1:05
12 Ranní Ptáče 1:23
13 Francovka 3:01
14 Jednou Nohou 4:13
15 Spofa Blues 2:49
16 Apokalyptickej Pták 8:14
17 Píseň Brance 6:46


Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Кола Бельды / Kola Beldy ‎– "Белый Остров / White Island" (Мелодия ‎– С60 27841 007) 1989


Never really been a big fan of ethnic,slash,'world' music......I blame Peter Gabriel for that, and all those  middle class Womad festival fans, whose very existence seems to remove any point in making,writing about, or listening to music at all. The very thought of millionaire urban folkies exploiting the impoverished musicians of a third world country to win a 'Grammy' for their theft, makes me wanna bash my own brains in. Specifically, I'm thinking Paul Simon here.....what a bastard he was/is!?
High in the 'Bastard' stakes, along with Simon, is Coca-Cola, but replace the 'C' with a 'K' and we get super-bizarre Nanai tribe member and trad folk singer Kola Beldy.
In 1986 he was awarded the title of 'Meritorious Artist of the RSFSR' (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist republic!?);we've all got one of those.....haven't we???He had a number of Soviet-era permfrost themed hits, most famously with the top ten smash,  "I will take you to the tundra", hmmmm yes please???......you don't get hits with titles like that in the UK.....well....I suppose we did have "Snooker Loopy",which you sure as hell wouldn't find in the Soviet Charts of the time.You wouldn't think that Chas,of Chas'n'Dave, was in Gene Vincent's backing band in the early sixties now would you?

The awards kept coming for Kola,winning "Award no.2"(that's the name of the award NOT his second award!) at the 'Sopot International Song Festival' in 1973....what "Award no.1" was, and who won it,remains a closely gaurded state secret to this day.
This album, has any number of bizarre sounds augmenting Kola's ethno-operatic fusion,which adds greatly to its score on the 'weird' scale.Certainly one for the coveted 'Other' section in the record shop.
Luckily, politics and common sense stopped Paul Simon from making a 'collaboration' with Mr Beldy, and just good luck saved him from Peter Gabriel's insidious clutches.The Iron Curtain had its uses after all?

Tracklist:

1 White Island (Saami Song)
2 Master Of Forest (Mansi Song)
3 A Seagull (Dolgan Song)
4 Return Home (Chukchi Song)
5 To The Ocean (Yukagir Song)
6 A Hunter (Evenki Song)
7 Fisher-woman (Evenki Song)
8 Holiday (Eskimo Song)
9 By Dog Sledge (Hanti Song)
10 My Darling (Hanti Song)
11 Greeting (Ulchi Song)
12 Strange Girls (Nanai Song)
13 Kmali Chinekh (Itelmen Song)
14 Emaron Island (Nanai Song)
15 Toasting Song (Yakutian Song)
16 Snowy Tundra (Saami Song)
17 My Little Reindeer (Evenki Song)
18 Fisher's Song (Nanai Song)


Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Дос-Мукасан / Dos-Mukasan - "Дос-Мукасан" (Мелодия ‎– С60-07677-8) 1976



Freaky Psychedelic combo's from Kazakhstan didn't need long hair,beads and lashings of LSD 25, to make weird as fuck music. In a land remote enough from Moscow for nuclear testing, the wastelands around the townships were littered with the carcasses of  space junk and failed missle tests.The river behind the band in the album cover swhot was likely highly radioactive or lifeless from chemical spillages further upstream. Large swathes were uninhabitable, poisoned by disgarded rocket fuel, by the time Borats' homeland became independant.Perhaps it was the copious amount of chemicals splashed around the habitats of a seemingly expendable people that ,once ingested, created a drug strong enough for Dos-Mukasan to dress in those way-out uniforms;or was that the standard issue for the Kazaki space programe?
Listening to track one "A Hungry Steppe", this bunch of crazy kids didn't need no rocket to get into orbit, just give them some musical instruments and they'll take us all there.
Trouble is that by track 4 we're splashing down in the Caspian sea again,firmly back on liquid Earth.
Apparently this is thee most saught after Melodiya album by record collecting nutjobs,and I can see why. Certainly the opening track is funky enough to have been 'discovered' by unnamed trendsetting DJ's at certain cheese obsessed night clubs in London; but the ethic psychedelic prog fusion is a heady enough mixture to power anyone's personal rocket.Dispite its inconsistancy it's a weird as fuck(Shit! Did i say that twice!?),and will certainly impress your more pretentious chums into asking you what that music is....then your 'cool' is in severe jeopardy once you try to pronounce it!.....don't ask me i'm as clueless as your pretentious friends.

Tracklist:

A1 Бетпак Дала = A Hungry Steppe 7:35
A2 Ахау Бикем = Magnificent Girl 3:58
A3 Аяулым = My Gentle 4:54
A4 Ляйлым шырак = Dear Leilym 2:05
B1 Туган Жер = Motherland 4:40
B2 16 Кыз = 16 Girls 2:57
B3 Куа Бол = Be A Witness Of My Love 4:11
B4 Сулу Кыз = Beautiful Girl 3:17
B5 Куанышым Меным = My Joy 2:55


Monday, 11 November 2019

Фирюза/Firyuza ‎– Фирюза/Firyuza (Мелодия ‎– C60-13215-16) 1979



More from Funk capital of the USSR ,Ashkhabad,Turkmenistan. From the time before Life-President Saparmurat Niyazov took over and banned everything,but not before he renamed 'Bread' after his mother.I dunno if he tried to rename the David Gates soft rock combo 'Bread' also after his mummy,or tried to get his sister in on the act?
However,Firyuza was a Turkmenian ethnic/prog/jazz/fusion instrumental band, founded in 1979.They won the coverted first prize at The Sixth All-Union Entertainers Competition in Leningrad, thus gaining the privilege of an album release on distinctly ungroovy state label Melodiya.And its as good as their wild image on the front cover.Heavy on the use of the fiddle,it sounds not unlike a mixture of The Dirty Three,the Dirty Harry soundtrack, and the less dirty, Mahavishnu Orchestra.
I notice that Melodiya didn't release a second album,or maybe it was that they were imprisoned by Turkmenistan's de facto dictator and were never seen again?
Great Image, Great music.


Tracklisting:

A1. Ashkhabad
A2. "Kray Rodnoy" Native Land
B1. Chapycsuar
B2. "Dialog V Aule" Dialogue In The Village


Saturday, 9 November 2019

Гунеш = "Gunesh" Ensemble* ‎– Вижу Землю (I See Earth)" (Мелодия ‎– C60 21197 007) 1984



In a country in which Opera,Ballet and Circus's were banned for 'not being Turkmen enough',I doubt the sophisticated Jazz Fusion of the Gunesh Ensemble would have been too popular with Turkmenistan's dictator and self-declared president for life 
Saparmurat Niyazov. Released ,on Soviet state label Melodija, just before Niyazov took absolute power in 1985,I don't think the great man would have been tapping his feet to the syncopated rhythms of this funky combo.Which would explain why they 'disappeared' shortly after Niyazov ascended to the throne of supreme ruler.
A regime rivaling North Korea in its madness, the life President even had all the months and days of the week renamed with the Turkmen national symbols, as described in his autobiography the 'Ruhnama',which was compulsory reading for all citizens,who were regularly tested on its contents.He also had the word for Bread changed to his mothers name,and banned dogs!This album should have been called "I Rename Earth after myself".They don't make 'em like this anymore!?As one of the world's most totalitarian, despotic and repressive dictators. He promoted a cult of personality around himself which left little room for such groovy pop ensembles as Ganesh.So I dread to think what happened to the upwards of sixty various members of this ensemble over the years? Hopefully they escaped to Russia which looked like a democratic utopia in comparison to the land of the Turkmen.
Dig thosz 'fro's.....I don't phink da president like you very much boyz!?

Tracklist:

A1 Байконур = Baikonur 5:02
A2 Бу Дерды = Bu Derdy 7:44
A3 Восточный Экспресс = Oriental Express 3:32
B1 Ритмы Кавказа = Rhythms Of The Caucasus 8:25
B2 Ветер С Берегов Ганга = Wind From The Gang 4:32
B3 Вьетнамские Фрески = Vietnamese Frescoes 4:20


Friday, 8 November 2019

Menuets ‎– "Dzeguzes Balss" (Мелодия ‎– С60-11303-4) 1979




Soviet Prog recordings on the terminally uncool state label Melodija,could always be relied upon to have some amusing sleeve notes, and this prog classic is no exception.
And I quote....:

"Amidst cars, engines and girls
Feeling cold on street corners
Amidst roaring, growling, whistling-
Is it raving or a hello-
the call of cuckoo."

Poet Māris Čaklais and composer Imants Kalniņš pose this question in
the title-song. Well, yes, what is this "call of cuckoo" in our noisy and impetuous age! And what is Menuet?
The leader of this amateur pop group Jānis Blūms says that Menuet means four guys from Jūrmala. Right! If four students from the Jūrmala high school No 4 - brothers Alberts and Raimonds, Bartaševičs as well as Adrians Kukuvass and Juris Sējāns - had not in 1968 set up their group, there would be no Menuet today. Then, also, it would hardly have survived to this day without participation in the TV contest "Show Your Skill" in 1969 when Jānis Blūms undertook the management of the group. There would also be no Menuet without the other musicians - Inese Paberza, Baiba Sejane, Juris Ulakovs, Leons Sējāns.Or without rehearsals, competitions, festivals and many other things.But first of all the Menuet we know and admire has come alive due to soft rock songs by Imants Kalniņš."


Well,I couldn't have written anything better myself!? I for one would love to see the rest of the acts on "Show Your Skill", but it seems no clips exist!? Like the BBC did regularly in the sixties,Soviet State Television likely erased everything immeadiately after broadcast. So now we are deprived of that Cossack Ventriloquist,Boris the Whistling assembly line operative,Vladimir the Dancing Coal Miner, and that essential soviet accessory,the Kulak impressionist,who did an uncannily accurate Ronald Reagan.
This Latvian prog group that emerged out of Jūrmala high school No 4 back in '68,thanks to sucess on "Show Your Skill",managed to make this rather operatic style prog classic ten years later.
And NO the title doesn't translate as "Disguise your Balls"!!!!?
However,one must recommend the closing ,and snappily titled "Raganas Dziesmiņa Pēc Sprieduma Pasludināšanas", as being very good indeed....especially for an 'Amateur Pop Group'.Very skilful.


Tracklist:

A1 Dziesmiņa Dziedama Pusčetros No Rīta
A2 Viņi Dejoja Vienu Vasaru
A3 Dzeguzes Balss
A4 Septiņas Skumjas Zvaigznes
B1 Piedod, Piedod, Piedod Man!
B2 Dziesma Par Florīdas Smiltīm
B3 Dziesmiņa Par To Gadījumu Ar Džordāno Bruno
B4 Raganas Dziesmiņa Pēc Sprieduma Pasludināšanas