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Ako Doma

Eclectic Prog

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ako Doma's music is a scoop of less known prog rock, but also has its impurities or its "new-culture" leanings. Despite that it isn't hard to get their works, it's on the other hand a bit hard to savor them completely, every spin taking you deep in liking their art and, more important, hearing the progressive roar, but leaving something unresolved. This applies for everything done by the band. Their self-titled album dates from 1999, done at a late mark of six years since the ensemble formed. Quite short, EP-ish, lasting only 30 rounded-up minutes, having to offer only five tracks, of an average 5-6 minutes (the longest lasts 8). Inside Ako Doma's overall achievements, this ain't no soft in-search-of-identity debut, but a kick-off into decent, solid, characteristic feature the band will use, in the same way, afterwards. The following longer album 52 is way better, instead I personally wouldn't be so sure their third album is a step further (making this quick-step debut, in that case, the lowest on stars), mainly because it raises more problems and suspicions than this one and the next altogether. By comparison, Ako Doma is not bad at all, but bright, to-the-point and energetic.

Judging by the style, the Slovakian quintet is clearly a play-oriented group of musicians, though surpassing light measures and putting up some artistic thoughts, in certain spot, as well. The cult for progressiveness can be very well noticed and pointed down the structural section, inspiring a good note for achieved complexity, even if the naturally dense musicality could have opened to a deeper subtlety. The same cult, however, regarding how the music concretely sounds, can risk being a bit more arguable. In this tight format, Ako Doma is a performance affluent in vitality, profound in its instrumental identity, satisfactory in its melodic/dynamic steady print, while the no-keyboard quintet plays with the desire to prove a lot or at least to escape saying both mellow and loud/extreme things. Saxophonist Tatiana Siládiová is to take great credit, being actually a lead player, given the large & long, soothing and exciting in the same times done entries; the reply is served mostly by Jozef Stefanatný's guitar. Not to forget is Ivan Geso's decisive drumming. These being said, the 5 pieces we're dealing with on this album should mostly direct you towards an influenced, developed but reasonably crafted dark instrumental rock, with progressive timings and modern tinges, but also with a full side of jazzy, fusion-like or jam-initiated colors. Neither soft, neither ravenous, not at all bad, while a bit too casual, if honestly reviewed.

Vôňa dázďoviek (I'm gonna stick to the original titles) is a charming if light moment for practicing dynamic rock tunes, the sax headlining a spicy, pop-ish leitmotif that blends in as much as it sounds clear to the ear. The rapture into improvising this theme is worthwhile. Uz works on modern heavy/eclectic modes, even dealing concretely with odd, heterogeneous time signatures and intervals; I won't accentuate too much the impression of a King Crimson influence, because it's a banal thing to say when considering the way things evolve and/or are improvised, alas I think it's out of the question to miss it, as in to not feel it. Jesenná is where Ako Doma try more bass fusion and bring the melodies up to a free-sound, this particular piece also appearing on the future 52 , with added vocals that impress a lot less. Already by the time Caravan (apparently a Duke Ellington cover) kicks in, you can notice how, on one hand, the sax rests while the guitar is now the lead excellent instrument, burning ember, with cool, swift technical or stunt-like improvs, and, on the other hand, from complex rock and prog elements, the new upbeat is...well, exactly that: beat-background music on a jam session of funny, far or concentrated lines. Kapucín keeps up the unison, ending the short album lightly, but not without a guitar-sax communion finally happening. Lots to feel in these 30 minutes, lots to talk about, after.

A good if not also important stronger album in the band's career, unlikely however to reach more than a good grade, but even less possible to be acknowledged lower. Three stars.

Report this review (#179348)
Posted Sunday, August 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Totally unknown band from Slovakia,formed in 1993 by musicians Miroslav Fedor (bass), Jozef Stefanatný (guitar, guitar synthesizer), and Ivan Geso (drums) with influences coming from progressive rock,jazz,funk and classical music.They recorded their first demo a year later and by the second and third demos (recorded in 1996 and 1997 respectively) they filled their sound with keyboards,recruiting Lubos Tomascik.Tomascik left the band to be replaced by Alexander Cupka on percussions and Tatiana Siladiova on saxes.This quintet recorded AKO DOMA's eponymous instrumental debut,released in 1999 by Mellow Records.

Their musicianship is quite avant-sounding with obvious jazz and soul leanings and weird guitar synthesizer work.Tatiana's saxophone leads the way with smooth playing over the rhythm section or nice interactions with the guitars and the bass.Jozef Stefanatný plays some great solos here and there to fill their work with somekind of melody.Some of the tracks have straight jazz references,based on improvisated saxes,up-tempo percussions,difficult bass lines and obscure changing grooves and instrument soloing.However ''Ako doma'' isn't a jazz-rock album by any means,thus it contains enough elements from avant-garde music and evident influences from mid-70's/early-80's KING CRIMSON's style to stand as a mixed release of totally different styles and colours.The trully short album (less than 30 minutes) is followed by AKO DOMA's 22-min. demo ''Hrdzavenie'' from 1997,which features a less dark/jazzy and richer sound,as it is dominated by grandiose keyboards,lots of guitar synthesizers,interesting guitar solos and some light pianos and violins here and there,to result an absolutely fascinating soundscape.Both the official release and the demo are more than interesting,so AKO DOMA are definitely a band to watch.Heading to lovers of underground yet varied progressive sounds!

Report this review (#182280)
Posted Friday, September 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars AKO DOMA showed maturity since their debut days, a high quality playing with well developed interplays, but a bit too formulaic at times.

Kudos to this band for being homogenic while noodling all the time. The most outstanding instrument is certainly guitar - showing the expressiveness of a highest rank. Guitar is also the most melodic instrument here - and this album lacks more melodies, or to be precise, more hooks.

The music they're playing I showing resemblance with KING CRIMSON's Discipline, while far from being carbon copy. There are often heavy guitar pattern, driving the tune, while saxophone is giving jazz flavour and other instrument just noodling (but noodling as in elaborately noodling) giving various tapestries. Musicianship is on a high level, the playing is tight, but for my taste too dense; there's not much time to breath. I mentioned this band needs, in my opinion, more catchy melodies; the second thing is much more diverse dynamic range; simply said - some quite moments. Without that, this album is swamped with self-indulgence. Which is not necessarily bad, but I wish they presented their material with a more easygoing attitude; some of the compound time measure are forced. In conclusion - we have a record of progressive rock with diversity, eclecticism, tight playing; and yet it's formulaic and it's not moving me deeper. So typical syndrome for modern bands: we love play, so we play prog, therefore we must play prog. I would prefer some songwriting instead of mathematical calculations. If they would only start with simple three-chord sing-along tune and then develop it slowly until it reaches the degree of complexity this band is maintaining, that would be whole another story.

Report this review (#183062)
Posted Sunday, September 21, 2008 | Review Permalink

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