lunedì 10 aprile 2017

FISZ EMADE TWORZYWO - "DRONY" (2016)

If you liked Fisz Emade Tworzywo's previous album, "Mamut", you should listen to this one too. The atmospheres are quite similar, with electronic downtempo rhythms, mysterious keyboard sounds, and a melancholic but tense mood throughout the tracklist. "Kręte drogi" is probably the best song they ever made, with those beautiful mystical voices above an impressive foktronica background.

The album debuted at no. 1 on the Polish chart. 

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mercoledì 29 marzo 2017

SBB - "ZE SŁOWEM BIEGNĘ DO CIEBIE" (1977)

Another excellent album from SBB, the most important Polish prog band. Compared to "Pamięć", which you may have already appreciated, the sound quality has even improved. 
There is only one song on each side. The title track is a mix between symphonic prog and space rock, passionately sung by keyboard player Józef Skrzek, while "Przed premierą" is instrumental and more jazz fusion oriented. The whole album is characterized by ethereal, liquid sounds, originating from guitars and keyboards as well.

Released as a limited edition of 50.000 copies, the vinyl version quickly went out of print. It was finally reissued on CD in 1997.


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sabato 18 marzo 2017

PHOENIX - "CEI CE NE-AU DAT NUME" (1972)

This is Soviet Sam's first Romanian entry, after just over four years of existence (better late than never).

Phoenix are probably the most popular rock band of the nation, at least among the older generation. After spending the Sixties playing beat music, they changed their style in 1971, when the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu officially stated that every musician should have praised the nation and the Romanian tradition in one way or another. 

To avoid a ban, the band decided to incorporate the local folklore into its sound, while maintaining the electric side. In fact, the new songs sounded even louder than in the past, but since the band had accepted the request of Ceaușescu, they managed to partially bypass the censorship. 
The first full lenght album, "Cei ce ne-au dat nume", should have been a double Lp, but half of the material was not approved because of its controversial contents, probably considered too heavy and depressed (many songs talked about death). The remaining songs were released by the state label Electrecord in 1972. The first Cd reissues came at the end of the Nineties.

Lead by the talented multi-instrumentalist Nicolae Covaci, Phoenix were one hell of a band at the time. This debut is a gem which mixes hard rock, blues, progressive rock, and Romanian folk. The sound is sharp and aggressive, maybe a little flat, but surprisingly clear. Heavy guitar riffs, distortions, and powerful solos on one side, pristine vocal arrangements and arcane atmospheres on the other. Like it or not, you'll rarely hear something similar.

Nicolae Covaci: lead guitar, acoustic guitar, flute, percussion, vocals
Mircea Baniciu: lead vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, percussion
Iosif Kappl: bass guitar, violin, percussion, vocals
Costin Petrescu: drums
Valeriu Sepi: percussion


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sabato 31 dicembre 2016

AFRO KOLEKTYW - "PIOSENKI PO POLSKU" (2012)

Afro Kolektyw was a strange hip hop band from Warsaw, who played their own background tracks, rather than using samples and computers. After releasing a few albums, their creative ambitions drove them away from the world of hip hop.

"Piosenki po polsku" is the first album of their indie pop phase. Their musicianship is indeed remarkable, with jazz chords, articulate riffs, and beautiful melodies. The arrangements are littered with jangly guitars, a range of different keyboard instruments (organ, piano, synthesizers, Mellotron), and funk rhythms. 
Both relaxed and danceable, this chilled out album is one of the best emerged from the local scene in the last decade. It reached no. 30 on the Polish chart, being their first and only entry there.


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martedì 20 dicembre 2016

NIEMEN ENIGMATIC - "NIEMEN ENIGMATIC" [aka "NIEMEN", "CZŁOWIEK JAM NIEWDZIĘCZNY", "CZERWONY ALBUM"] (1971)

Known for its numerous titles as it didn't receive an official one at the time, this is the only album released under the Niemen Enigmatic name. It was the band's second album though, as they had also played on Czesław Niemen's "Enigmatic", from which their name was taken.

Niemen composed seven songs out of eleven, whilst the remaning were penned by band members Tomasz Jaśkiewicz (guitar), Jacek Mikuła (organ, piano), and Zbigniew Namysłowski (flute).
Some of the lyrics were written by poet and Polish music legend Wojciech Młynarski.

If you liked "Enigmatic", there's no reason not to try this one, as it represents its perfect sequel. Exciting progressive rock, distorted jazz-rock jams, excellent musicianship, and dramatic soul vocals by one of the best singers ever.

Even though it didn't generate huge hit singles as Niemen's previous works did, "Niemen Enigmatic" was the top earning Polish album of 1971, with around 80.000 copies sold. 


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