Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 24 - 10/05/98
Czech Alternative Music, Vol. IV
There are a couple of problems with this title. First, the music isn't
really what we understand as "alternative". What's included here are
pretty mainstream pop, rock, heavy metal, reggae and new-age genres.
Also, this isn't really a representation of the Czech alternative music scene,
but rather a sampler of a record label's recent releases. Nevertheless, I found
some interesting music here.
For instance, I liked the two 'girl' groups, "Autobora" and
"Zuby nehty." In the first case, L. Svobodová coos Bourám
(vsechno co mám) (I'm Demolishing Everything I Have) in a sweet Tori
Amos voice, while Ven paka (Out, Jerks) by the latter group reminded me
of the Go Go's. I also enjoyed Bittová and Václavek's 100 let
(Hundred Years). In it, this 30 year old vocalist, violinist and performance
artist purrs and scats seductively, accompanied by Václavek's 8/4 lilting
acoustic guitar, but just as unexpectedly, the rhythm suddenly changes to a
driving 6/4 beat, with assorted cries, moaning and exclamations in the
background. Interesting but less successful however were the two jazz-flavored
groups, the Ani DiFranco influenced "Oswald Schneider", and the
What I didn't like were the monotonous and loud heavy metal outings by the
"Kurtizány z 25. avenue" and the "Dead House Chicago
I.R.A." (I guess English group titles automatically signal noise.)
"Tata bojs" and "Nahoru po schodisti dolu band" delivered
ho-hum rock grooves. Zeleny list (Green Leaf) by the reggae group
"Svihadlo" is a simple and boring ditty despite the
tape-playing-backwards trick at the end. Fathers son by
"Toyen" is marred by Ivo Heger's awkward English. The transplanted
Englishman Phil Schöenfelt should have kept his his day job as a salesman
in a sex shop...
So, other than U ohne (By the Fire) by "Pluto" led by the
virtuoso drummer Pavel Fajt, what's left is impressionistic new-age stuff by
the guitar duo Andrtová/Hladík and Ladislav Brom's Svátek na
Main Bazaaru (Festival in the Main Bazaar).
One question remains: Is this collection a good sampler for Indies Records?
Based in Brno, this label produced over 50 recordings since 1992. They are a
small but successful music publishing business and unlike some other bigger
companies, they are willing to take chances. Even if occasionally they produce
more misses than hits. I did note these nineteen cuts took 79:45 to finish.
Perhaps next time, being more critical about what gets included, Indies can
make Vol.V a little bit more even.
Copyright © 1998 Ivan Sever