Monday, 16 December 2019

Angus MacLise ‎– "Tapes" (Pleasure Editions ‎) 2015


OK,so now the challenge is to try and post something that's the polar opposite to Soviet Bloc Prog?

How about some middle class american avant-garde minimalism,with a splash of ethnological forgery?
American percussionist, composer, poet, occultist and calligrapher (it says here!),Angus MacLise;otherwise known as the first drummer for the Velvet Underground,fits the bill nicely.
He appeared to not be bothered that his music was basically ignored outside of that Warholian clique,and seemed to play only for his own benefit,and that of the like-minded individuals that he hung out with.MacLise was a member of La Monte Young's Theatre of Eternal Music, with Tony Conrad and John Cale, who described MacLise as "living on the Angus calendar", showing up to performances hours or even days after the band had finished.Mainly because he was drugged out of his 'avant-garde' brane!
During an Exploding Plastic Inevitable performance in 1966, MacLise showed up half an hour late and carried on drumming for half an hour after the set had finished to compensate for his late arrival;or rather thats what he said.the real money is on the possiblity that he was so stoned he didn't know the performance had finished.
Another doomed Aliester Crowley obsessive,his music has a tribal feel to it,abeit a tribe fucked up on peyote induced spirituality.
No official albums existed during his lifetime,and I doubt he even cared.Ambition is,after-all, the rocky cycle path to a creative cliff edge.This is a very posthumous 3-cassette compilation of unheard music from MacLise’s vast and wide-ranging reel-to-reel back catalogue. These recordings, produced between the mid-'60s and the late-'70s, consist of tribal trance workouts, spoken word, poetry, Brion Gysin-like tape cut-ups,minimalist droning and wacked out electronics—all animated by the remarkable spirits of MacLise and his beatniky cohorts.
He ,somehow, managed to die of malnutrition in Kathmandu in 1979!? Now that's certainly one of the more original Rock'n'Roll deaths.None of your cliched 'Choked on Vomit' nonsense when it came to Angus MacLise;it may not have been someone elses vomit, 
but it was definitely his own malnutrition,and,unfortunately, his own fault.

Tracklist:


Tape I

A SR8041
B1 DS8067
B2 SR8041
Tape II
A1 Trance
A2 SR8041-B
A3 DS8043
A4 Summer 1978
A5 DS8093
B1 DS8068-B
B2 TC8028
Tape III
A TC8017
B DS8045


Saturday, 14 December 2019

Various Artists ‎– "Ende Vom Lied: East German Underground Sound 1979 - 1990" (Play Loud! Productions ‎– pl-67) 2016



What can I say except that i like a nice pair of knockers on my record covers,especially painted ones.

So all i'm motivated to do is cut'n'paste the liner notes,and come to the conclusion that the DDR produced ,by far, the best and most adventurous music in the whole soviet bloc.So as the title suggests,this can mark the end of our fabulous tour of the communist bloc.....not necessarily never to return.There's reems of DDR Punk,but,between you and me...its largely awful 1983 generic rubbish.You can't win 'em all!?

....and i quote:....

"ENDE VOM LIED" is a genre-spanning collection of punk, post-punk and avant-garde bands from the former East Germany, chronicling the work of free spirits pitted against government restraints and implied genre limitations. The underground scene in the GDR was a hydra, a noisy mix of musicians, poets, pain¬ters, photographers, filmmakers, punks and freaks. In the immediate aftermath of the primal scream that was punk, music often bred with poetry or painting in short-lived liaisons or enduring collaborations to produce a new generation of genre bastards. With the lines blurring between forms, a search for new shapes began. In the German Democratic Republic, this search constituted a tightrope walk, a dance for expression between subculture and a dictatorship.

*In German, ENDE VOM LIED literally translates to “The end of the song”, but is more commonly understood as a saying roughly meaning “The upshot”, “The end of the story” or simply “The end”.

TRACKLIST:

01 Ornament & Verbrechen : When I am I am not (1988)
02 Grabnoct : Töten und Fressen (1987)
03 L‘Attentat : linke Ecke, rechte Ecke (1984)
04 Der Schwarze Kanal : spiel mit (1979)
05 3tot : Hintere Gedanken (1989)
06 Der Demokratische Konsum : Sturm im Gepäck (1985)
07 T42 : Dreamer (1985)
08 Happy Straps : Live in Paradise (1985)
09 Planlos : Smog und Ruß (1981)
10 Sendeschluß : Deine Liebe (1982)
11 Zwitschermaschine : geh übern fluß (1983)
12 Aufruhr zur Liebe : mit’m bock auf nichts (1984)
13 Andreas Auslauf : Zivilisation (1985)
14 Rosa Extra : was mir deine schleuder ist dir meine waschmaschine (1982)
15 AG Geige : Fingerwalze (1989)
16 The Local Moon : Kingdom comes (1987)
17 fett : rifflied (1988)
18 Herbst in Peking : Parade (1989)
19 Magdalene Keibel Combo : Stahl Daab (1988)
20 Ornament & Verbrechen : keilter schwaß (1989)
21 BAADER : ceaucescu meiner seele! (1988)
22 Klick & Aus : Systeme rasten ein, ich raste aus! (1984)
23 Der Expander des Fortschritts : Fremdgehen durchs Land (1990)
24 Pffft... : Prenzelking (1985)


Friday, 13 December 2019

MCH Band ‎– "Jsme Zdrávi A Daří Se Nám Dobře" (Fist Records) 1983


The MCH band couldn't get on groovy state label Supraphon,so they had to do the same as the UK bands who couldn't get on EMI, and make their own cassettes.
This is their second on Fist records.
More excellent proggy post-punk from darkest Czechoslovakia.

Tracklist:

A1 Prasinec
A2 Procházka Kolem Pivovaru
A3 Maškara Na Větvi
B1 Prej Hoří Národní Divadlo
B2 Viselci
B3 Truppen Marschieren Bei Nacht
B4 Kdo Ví


Thursday, 12 December 2019

MCH /post Extempore/ Band ‎– "Krokodlak" (Fist Records) 1982


The MCH band, named after band leader Mikoláš Chadima, bless him,was a more forward looking Czech Prog band that exuded elements of Post-Punk experimentalism, with a Rock In Opposition vibe, and the much needed influence of punk rock's immeadiacy. That means theres not much singing,no over long tracks, trimmed beards, and shorter shoulder length hair.They could even be the best thing to come out of Czechoslavakia since The Plastic People of the Universe....who were obviously a major influence.
This was their first cassette underground release, when they had just changed their name from The unrecorded, Extempore Band (Better name), to the initials of the lovely Mikoláš.

Tracklist:

A1 Pydlisyn
A2 Peklo
A3 Krokodlak / Vènováno V.T./
B1 Hobit / Zpěv Skřetů/
B2 Jak Šlo Vejce Na Van Dr
B3 Král Hromady


Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Bohemia ‎– "Zrnko Písku" (Panton ‎– 11 0699) 1978


Oh Alright then!
Here's the sole album of progressive Jazz Rock Fusion.from Czech-Prog super group, Bohemia.
Made up of Jan Kubík (ex-Flamengo), Lešek Semelka (ex-Blue Effect), Michal Pavlíček (ex-Expanze), Vladimír Guma Kulhánek (ex-Flamengo), Jan Hála and Pavel Trnavský (ex-Expanze)......so i'm told.
The music is standard Jazz Rock in the tradition of, dunno?...Return To Forever? Etc.
The tracks get rather funky at some point, but the singer.....the singer!
Thats the trouble with these eastern european records, their language doesn't suit rock and soul music whatsoever.
I've said this before, to some amusement I may add, that the Lingua Franca of 20th century popular music is, undeniably, English.As for Opera its Italian. 
Instrumentally this album is rather good, but rather spoiled by those harsh sounding words and those harsher, rasping vocals.


Tracklist:

1.Chór Minulých Nohou V Průchodu „Pasáž” 7:16
2.Zátiší Peronních Lístků 6:32
3.Sen O Snu 5:56
4.Horké Letní Stmívání 9:14
5.Milenci Před Pollockovým Obrazem 7:24

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Combo FH ‎– "Věci / Things" (Panton ‎– 8113 0184) 1981



Amother I got from the bargain bin in the Ultima Thule progressive record shop in Leicester back in the nineties;I think this was one pound.
More Czech, brass heavy prog, with a distinct Zappa influence.
Apparently there is a Frank Zappa statue in Prague somewhere. The Zappa family did originate,rather fittingly, from bohemia before they wisely emigrated to California.I did have a friend from the same area, who ultimately drove into a tree and died, but he did look like Zappa, a grungier version of Zappa, but nonetheless he had that Bohemia look.(especially after the accident!)
There was also a Czech prog fusion band actually Called 'Bohemia', which i considered posting, but its a bit too jazzy for me....as well as being a bit Shit....but is considered a Czech prog classic...and why not?
Combo Fh could have easily fitted into the UK post-punk prog scene if they had been let out to hang at Rough Trade in London...but,alas, they would have needed a major make over, a shave at least, to make it alongside Pigbag or Blurt.

Tracklist:

1.Guma-Gu / Rubber Blubber 4:13
2.Sedli A Jedli / They Sat And Ate 3:13
3.Ouklejí Slalom / Dace Race 4:26
4.Juta Targo 1:49
5.Řezník Zítra Nepřijede / The Butcher Won't Come Tomorrow 1:59
6.Sen Sušené Jahody / Dried Strawberry's Dream 3:46
7.Laserová Pouť / Laser Pilgrimage 2:49
8.Koko A Bučka / Koko And Bottage 1:35
9.Je Za Deset Minut, Pardále / It's Ten To, Bully Boy 2:55
10.Přilož Ucho / Give Your Ear 3:01
11.Druhá Nejlepší Pastička Na Myši / Second Best Mousetrap 2:29
12.Zelený Muž / Green Man 1:48
13.Tam Na Horách V Rákosí / On The Hilltops In The Rushes 1:35
14.Asi To Zabalíme, I Josef Už To Zavinul / Weather Report For 15.Tonight, Let's Call It A Day 2:29


Monday, 9 December 2019

Progres 2 ‎– "Dialog S Vesmírem" (Panton ‎– 8113 0130) 1980



Typically for the eastern bloc, Progres 2 were formed over a decade before they had their debut album put out by the state.Around about the time of the 'Prague Spring' uprising.
No room for teenage troublemakers over the other side of the wall....not on the state labels at least.Especially after the Soviet Tanks rolled in around 1968.
If you couldn't grow a bushy moustache they didn't wanna know.Back to the chemical plant and those adorably slack health and safety regulations. Teenagers with green hair in the soviet bloc were not generally adolescent rebels with a handy bottle of hair dye as a rule.Their verdant locks came courtesy of chemical poisoning at work, or they lived within 50 kilometers of a state industrial plant. So most musicians who lived on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain were often near death by the time the debut album got out.
At least Progres 2 seem to have survived their pre-fame era intact, as this complex and symphonic Czech-prog classic attests.

Tracklist:

1.V Zajetí Počítačů 3:07
2.Země 2555 4:07
3.Píseň O Jablku 9:34
4.Odlet 5:42
5.Planeta Hieronyma Bosche I 4:38
6.Planeta Hieronyma Bosche II 6:20
7.Tisíce Mých Očí 4:53
8.Hymna Robotů 4:37


Saturday, 7 December 2019

Zwitschermaschine ‎– "Alles Geld Der Welt Kostet Geld (1983-86)" - (Moloko+ ‎– PLUS 018) 1998


Any person or persons, who say that they aren't Artists, or in this case "Ich Bin Kein Artist",you just know that they certainly are.
Zwitschermaschine,and their 'Poet' chums are evidence of that.They may not be artists,but they sure as fuck wannabe.
Art Punk is the shoebox that Cultural taste manufacturers shoe horn this kind of educated post-punk into.It has that unwelcome stain of Intellectual sterility proudly displayed among the eighties production values.The cringing perfection that Martin Hannett bust an 'art'ery to create his legacy with.The gated snare drum had even infiltrated the areas in the Soviet Bloc that levis feared to tread.
It figures that if you convinced the East German authorities that you were actually an 'Artist' then you could probably get away with a dodgier direction. Not that Zwitschermaschine ever had a record out on any of the few official labels in the DDR.They were confined to self-releasing DIY cassettes from 1983 to around 1986-ish.Some of which were collated on this career overview,fleshed out with some tracks by band member and 'Poet',of course Sascha Anderson.
Yep, "Ich bin kien Artist" alright.

Tracklist:

1 Die Funktionäre Sind Im Widerstand (I) 1:04
2 Alles Oder Nichts ... (I) 0:44
3 Ich Hab Deine Schwarzen Gedanken... 2:51
4 Die Welt Ist So... 4:12
5 Das Chaos In Meinem Chaos (Gedicht) 0:48
6 Am Montag Geht Die Sonne Auf... 4:30
7 Auf Dem Bonzenstrich... 3:15
8 Alles Oder Nichts... (II) 0:50
9 Sie Kommt An Mein Grab (Gedicht) 1:10
10 Fluid & Firm... 7:47
11 Der König Meiner Kindheit 3:40
12 Wenn Nichts Mehr Zu Sagen Ist (Gedicht) 0:53
13 Ich Bin Kein Artist... 5:15
14 Raben, Raben, Raben 0:42
15 Das Ist Eine Der Fahnen... 9:40
16 Dezember '81 (Gedicht) 0:48
17 Jeder Satellit Hat Einen Killersatelliten 1:43
18 Go Over The Border 3:23
19 Die Funktionäre Sind Im Widerstand (II) 2:10
20 Alles Oder Nichts... (III) 0:50


Friday, 6 December 2019

Perestroika Combo ‎– "Himmlischer Frieden" (Self-Release ‎– XVIII) 1989



Back in the good ol' DDR,The marvellously named Perestroika Combo,appeared on cassette tape around the time the East German regime was in its death throes.Hence they wore their politics on their sleeve,naming themselves after the Soviet policy of Perestroika,or Restructuring,which was official state policy;so in a way they were colluding with an oppresive state,which is another way of looking at it?
So,as the members of the group came face to face with 'Freedom', which meant unemployment,poverty,and prejudice for yer average East German, they revelled in their new status as legal musicians and entrepreneurs;I assume they sold their cassettes?
So,we have, Voda Tudor on keyboards; Andree Krause on guitar & vocals; Steffanie Lingsminat on bass vocals; Frank Neubert on drum & Holgar Kaack on guitar/vocals.Considerably more members than are pictured on the photocopied insert.
I wonder if any of them suffered the common maladie of most former-East German citizens;that of 'Trabant Nostalgia Syndrome'....I just made that up....but, the Trabant,the peoples car of the DDR, became a symbol of a weird kind of nostalgia for the old country and its institutions.Like some kind of mass Stockholm Syndrome,where one misses the security of your oppressors,and the familiarity with the benefits of the nanny State.Many wanted to climb over the wall and go back in.Most were happy just to visit relatives and shop in the supermarkets with the 100 marks welcome gift provided by the West German government, then go back to their gauranteed Job,subsidised housing transport,and the freedom 'from' choice that a communist state provides. Who in their right mind wants to choose from hundreds of different types of shampoo when you only need one?
The music of the Perestroika Combo would not have gone down well with the authorities however.Dischordant and unmusicianly as it is.Obviously influenced by the music broadcst on late night Western Radio,but with that dark edge that came very naturally to those in the East.Full of Glasnost,but the opposite of Perestroika;more to do with de-structuring rather than re-structuring.Which is how we like it, isn't it kiddies?

Tracklist:

A1 Komplikation 3 4:22
A2 Himmlischer Frieden 7:34
A3 Mournful Cry 5:30
A4 Do It 5:12
A5 Langer Weg 6:31
B1 Aufbruch Part 1 17:07
B2 Aufbruch Part 2 (Incl. Happy Future) 6:36

SBB ‎– "SBB (or The Amiga Album)" (AMIGA ‎– 8 55 631) 1978


For SBB's East German sojourn, they got to release an album on VEB Deutsche Schallplatten's classic "Amiga" label, and record at 'Rundfunk der DDR' studios.Maybe they misunderstoof the 'Rundfunk' part, because they made a Herbie Hancock album instead of the usual SBB prog exploration.The poles have got funky for this one,the 'Third' eponymous album by SBB....referred to as the 'Amiga Album'.
The East German government were rather more officious than the Poles or the Czech's,a hangover from the Nazi period.So, i guess some high ranking state official insisted that they made something 'To Dance To Ja!?"....."Unt you vill DANCE!", was standard DJ talk at the state Discothéque;open every Friday from 7pm 'til curfew.
It may be mid-seventies funky Jazz Fusion, rather than Symphonic Progressive Rock, but it make me wanna tap my twinkle toes to its funkeh riddyms somewhat.Yowzaaaaah!

Tracklist:

A1 Tanzbär 3:05
A2 Magische Blaue Stunde 3:05
A3 Hektik 3:05
A4 2.10 2:10
A5 Ouzo 5:00
A6 Unterbrochene Erotik 2:52
B1 Kala 3:30
B2 Tumba 3:45
B3 Mutraczka 4:20
B4 Nr. 7 5:00
B5 I Wonder Why 4:35


Thursday, 5 December 2019

SBB ‎– "SBB (aka The Orange Album or Slovenian Girls)" (Supraphon ‎– 1 13 2218) 1978



SBB spent 1977/78 making albums for other communist state labels....except that notably absent was an SBB release on Russian state label, Melodija? Naturally the first place to go would be Czechoslavakia's 'Supraphon',So they got a couple of weeks off from the coalmine before christmas 1977 to record in Prague.The result of which was this garishly covered album,and the second,of three eponymously named collections called "SBB".Obviously this would cause confusion in other countries, so it was referred to as 'The Orange Album',and actually renamed in West Germany (1979), rather crassly, as "Slovenian Girls".Adorned with an alluring young Slovenian lady on the cover.One assumes that sales went up with the application of this basic, but sadly very effective,capitalist,marketing tool?
The brightly coloured sleeve of the Supraphon release certainly makes it stand out amongst the dour graphic design of their soviet bloc rivals.And look, they had a Mini Moog!
The tracks also had different names according to wich version they appeared on.For 'Slovenian Girls' it was simply Julia and Anna,whoever they were?It seems that one member of SBB went without a Slovenian Girl of his own?
They dud it again though.....two sidelong progressive pop workouts to rival any of their western counterparts....now get back in that coalmine and be equal!

Tracklist:

1. Wołanie O Brzęk Szkła (Touha Po Zvonění Střepů) / Julia (19:03)
2. Odejście (Odchod) / Anna (19:38)

DOWNLOAD a healthy orange full of vitamin C for communism HERE!

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

SBB ‎– "Ze Słowem Biegnę Do Ciebie" (Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1434) 1977


Two side long prog workouts,hitting every shade and hue of the Prog Rock Rainbow. A veritable cornucopia of funny time signatures and virtuosity. A smorgasbord of different tempo's and ........I'll stop now.
Basically its a rather good, if not the finest, SBB LP, treading that fine line between Jazz Rock Fusion, and Symphonic space rock.
Whats more is that there's another lengthy prog Rock excursion added as a bonus track. And once again,its never boring or derivative,and so opposite to what the capitalist bloc was selling us in 1977,that if you were a 'Real Punk', this is what you should have been listening to while your mates were enjoying themselves at a Sham 69 concert.

Tracklist:

1 Ze Słowem Biegnę Do Ciebie 19:14
2 Przed Premierą 19:29


Bonus Track:
3 Odejście (Tęsknota/Wyzwolenie/Odejście/Rozłam/Pojednanie) 29:07

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

SBB ‎– "Pamięć" (Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1345) 1976



I often asked my Father whether he'd like to go back to lower Silesia, and revisit his prison camp, to which he replied....."Ooya Bugger!You must be bloody joking! Bloody awful place,flat boring landscape and full of funny Buggers.".......yes, he'd have voted Brexit;But, as the theme of this album seems to be something to do with Fathers and family history, I will let that go, quoting track two,english version in brackets, "From Whose Blood is my Blood". Funnily enough he never had a bad word to say about the Germans!? The French were dismissed as ,and I quote, "A Shower of Shite!"
He'd be turning in his grave if he knew I now live in France.I can now confirm that they aren't quite the shower de merde that he thought they were,butJust as dislikeable,rude,and full of shit as all humans are.....some more than others.....and i'm not excluding myself from this observation before you jump in!
I did put my fathers remains, "Craddled in my Hands" (track one),around the graves of his perished Bomber crew near St Nazaire where they were buried (as documented earlier in this blog,including his very entertaining memoires for download). Scattering his ashes in the small war graves commision cemetery there.I'm sure he'd be satified with that.
So I dedicate this posting of some rather marvellous symphonic polish Prog ,"Ojcu"....(see also track one)


Tracklist:

1 W Kołysce Dłoni Twych(Ojcu)/
In The Craddle Of Your Hands(To My Father) 9:09
2 Z Których Krwi Krew Moja/
From Whose Blood, My Blood 10:13
3 Pamięć W Kamień Wrasta/
Memory Grows Into Stone 19:53

Bonus Tracks:
4 Poranek Nadziei 4:27
5 Barwy Drzewa
 2:01
6 Osiem Rąk 4:40
7 Waldie 9:13
8 Niedokończona Progresja 6:24
9 Reko-Reko 4:31
10 Serenada Gia Sena 4:58

Monday, 2 December 2019

SBB (Silesian Blues Band) - "Nowy Horyzont" (Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1206) 1975


SBB themselves...ahhhh they look all sad!?
Remember when Gary Glitter 'retired' and the band behind the great man carried on....the pure liquid genius that was 'The Glitter Band'?...yes?
Well SBB were the genius behind Czeslaw Niemen.
An acronym for the Silesian Blues Band, they were thee best Prog band in Poland, if not the whole Soviet Bloc, and within a chance to be the best in Europe?....well maybe that's going a little too far,but, musicianship-wise, they were smoking daddio!
As their former leader, Singer and keyboard leg end, Mr Nieman went on a electronic journey to the centre of the cosmos, the rockier side of his myth went on a progressive journey to fit as many notes, time signatures, and tempo changes into the medium of Rock fusion as possible. That sounds like my kinda shit....and it is.
I have a family connection with Silesia, as my dear departed Daddy spent three years there as a prisoner of war of the occupying Nazi's.The fucking Germans tried to kill him!?....what were they thinking of? 
But, now we're all friends in that wonderful concept of peace...the European Union......no....wait....the UK don't wanna be friends no more?......which reminds me to remind all forward thinking Brits who may read this before dec 12th, to vote tactically and fuck over your local Tory. There's a small chart in the side column of this blog. Target numero uno is Rees-Mogg, then Posh Fat-Boy Johnson himself.

Tracklist:

1.Na Pierwszy Ogień (Curtain Raiser) 3:15
2.Błysk (A Flash) 2:45
3.Nowy Horyzont (The New Horizon) 7:47
4.Ballada O Pięciu Głodnych(A Ballad About The Five Hungry Ones) 3:55
5.Wolność Z Nami (Freedom With Us) 20:00


Bonus Tracks:
6 Xeni 6:39
7 Penia 15:59
8 Dyskoteka 6:55
9 Na Pierwszy Ogień 6:49

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Czesław Niemen ‎– "Idée Fixe I + "Idée Fixe II" ( Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SX 1570-1571, Polskie Nagrania Muza ‎– SN 0770) 1978


You gotta love the Polish haven't you?
On the day that the sad nation of Little England Brexiteers learned that the three men, armed with a Narwhal's tusk (don't ask where he got that from!?) and a Fire Extinguisher, wrestled a knife weilding Terrorist* to the floor during the London Bridge attack last friday(during which two persons were killed! RIP), were....POLISH!.....yep the very same 'immigrants' that are stealing those jobs nobody wants,working all hours, and paying taxes so that Brexit Party supporters can receive their disability benefits.
Our Polish Heroes in action

"Why don't they go back to where they came from?"...will still be muttered when they find out that these heroes were dirty scrounging Foreign types.

As some unashamed and anonymous xenophobe required me to stick to the music in the comments section of Holy Toy's otherwise excellent "Panzer and Rabbits" post,I shall now post a classic Polish Prog masterpiece in tribute to these fine EU citizens who acted, while passing Brits filmed it on their mobile phones.

*Incidently, the 'terrorist' was a British citizen,from Stoke-on-Trent (which is no excuse!), who was let out from prison, early by Boris Johnson's despicable, lying, Tory Government,where he was serving a minimum of 8 years for ....er...Terrorist offenses!?...so much for mr Law and Order then?

"Idée Fixe", which is also the french name of Asterix the Gaul's Dog,Dogmatix as we know him; is generally accepted as Czeslaw Niemen's best album,personally I find it a bit self-indulgent. The title translates as 'Fixed Idea's' or, 'Dogmatism', which fitted the English translaters of 'Asterix' perfectly?
I dunno whether Czeslaw was being Ironic, or if this album follows an obscure musical dogma,as it does seem to stick to a lot of keyboard noodling,and lots of two handed prog-synth work-outs.
If Rick Wakeman-offs are your kind of musical dogma, then this expanded version of the original double album is most certainly for you.Personally I prefer it when he has his regular band SBB backing him up......and even more so, when he refrains from inflicting his terrible singing upon us.

Tracklists:

 "Idée Fixe I" :

1 Sieroctwo 8:46
2 QSS I (Pytanie o nasza skromnosc) 3:02
3 Larwa (1) (Wszechcywilizacji spoleczny blues) 7:23
4 Moja Piosnka 6:47
5 W Poszukiwaniu Źródła 2:36
Chłodna Ironia Przemijających Pejzaży (13:02)
6a Marmur Biały
6b Egejski Błękit
7 Straceńcy (Z wypraw nie tylko krzyzowych) 1:24
8 Laur Dojrzały 5:25

"Idée Fixe II" : 

1 Larwa (2) 7:20
2 Idącej Kupić Talerz Pani M. 5:13
3 Białe Góry 9:33
4 Legenda Scytyjska 3:25
5 QSS II (Nawolywanie) 2:43
6 Twarzą Do Słońca 7:07
Credo (8:20)
7a Pochwala Pracy (Promethidion - fragment)
7b Burza I Kolory Teczy


Sen Srebrny Salomei EP:


8 Proroctwo Wernyhory 0:28
9 Spotkanie Leona I Salomei 0:45
10 W Obozie Ukraińskim 1:30
11 Zazdrość Semenki 0:32
12 Przybycie Regimentu 0:53
13 Defilada 0:50
14 Mazurek Weselny 1:07
15 Pieśń Wernyhory 5:43


&

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