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Uz Jsme Doma - Jeskyne (Caves) CD (album) cover


Uz Jsme Doma



3.96 | 56 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
5 stars Exploring the sonic caves

U? Jsme Doma (pronounced Ooz-smeh Doma) is a Czech Avant-jazz band (U? Jsme Doma translated to "Are We Home Yet" in English, and I will refer to them as UJD). They are a project that has been around since the mid 80's, and has constantly changed and morphed though countless member changes. Caves is a eclectic and truly avant-garde album with a full (at least sounding) brass section, along with a full-fledged rock band (vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys). The music is a mix of funky jazz, punk rock, and purely avant-garde music, with absolutely maniacal melodies and backing rhythms. The music barely slows down once on the entire album, keeping a head banging beat the whole way through.

Cave is a little sound-fx intro with "cave noises," which flows into Droplet. Droplet opens the album with a smash and the typical catchy funk avant jazz that the album is made up. If I spoke Czech, I could tell you what the lyrics were saying, but I've not a clue. The melodies are extremely odd, but have a certain catchiness to them that makes the song oddly appealing. With most avant-garde music I have to scratch my head to even understand what could possibly happening, but with these songs I can see where they get their amazing peculiarity. A start to a fantastic album!

Abyss is more waltzy-ish, if this could possibly be called a waltz. The 6/8 feel to it makes a great little swing piece, with more avant and catchy melodies. The song has a more prominent piano part rather than the punk-rock guitar chords or (although still prominent) trumpet. The instrumental section is a great little avant solo section with some creative trumpet soloing.

Reel has a more proggy sound to it, with an even more avant-garde backing trumpet melody. The song has a slower and more deliberate beat and punk-rock backed guitar part and more obvious dynamic changes between the "fast" verses and the slower chorus. The polyrhythmic feel to the music is really fun, switching up the feel of the rhythm yet again and keeping the music interesting, as UJD always can do.

Nugget is another softer and more proggy song, with a funky fretless bass and more compassionate vocals and melodies. The punk dynamics are again a great contrast behind the avant-jazz melodies and trumpet work. The song has a great Latin/bossa feel with the funky drum line.

Fascination is one of the most avant-garde and difficult to understand (in a good way) song on the album. With a trumpet melody that makes Bach flip in his grave and peculiar "choral" vocal parts accompanying, the song makes no traditional sense. In an avant-garde mind, however, the song has a great punk-funk-weird-jazzy quality that makes this song even more fun than the rest of them. (Plus, there is a bounty of cowbell!)

Ceilings is one of my favorite tracks on the album. With a great funky polyrhythmic standup bass part and a funky trumpet and piano "duet" accompanying it, the song opens fantastically. The melody and backing piano and trumpet are catchy and powerful. The song has one of the more dynamic song structure, switching from basically straight jazz to punk rock to polyrhythmic rock and avant-garde melodic sections.

Shelter is also one of my favorite tracks. The trumpet melody and punk guitar makes this song an extremely catchy avant-punk rock track. All the individual dynamics between instrumental sections and vocal sections are fantastic, making this an exceptional track. Again the dynamics switch from this to that to something else within only a few seconds, what fun!

Marianne is (what a surprise) another favorite track. This is one of the very few albums that opens strong, and exits even stronger. Out of the all the songs, I think this song has some of the most catchy melodies and creative dynamics and avant properties. The crescendoing instrumental sections, the dynamic guitar playing, the great brass, bass, and drums, and of course that great Czech vocal act make this track really great.

Cranny is in my opinion the official ender and the last track is just a bonus. It is fantastic. It essentially sums up every musical quality explored in the album, which is a great number, if I might say so myself. From punk to jazz to avant-garde to rock to polyrhythmic sections to multi layered melodic sections to so much more, the song is jam packed with some great stuff!

Like I said before, the last track, Lullaby for Anezka, is essentially a little bonus "ballad," with a short length of less than 2 minutes and some quiet instrumentation between standup bass and slight keyboards and vocals. Nothing really special about the track.

ALBUM OVERALL: Caves is an extremely fun ride. With avant-garde melodies and all-over- the-place everything, every song has a special "charm" and quality that make all the music found on the album extremely unique. The obvious main influences are jazz and punk-rock, two genres not often mixed, to make an extremely fun and peculiar sound. Song to song, the composition and quality of the music is fantastic, and the whole album is a blast to listen. Other than its absolute insanity musically, which is what one looks for in an avant-garde album, the album has virtually no flaws, other than a few non-organic sounding basses that sound like a fake bass. It isn't a major flaw but makes the music sound more fake. 5- stars.

Andy Webb | 5/5 |


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