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Progres 2 - Dialog S Vesmírem CD (album) cover


Progres 2

Eclectic Prog

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Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Concept album with complex lyrics and for 1980, it's quite good sounding too (80s were disaster for music and even more for Prog, which almost faded out). Bands like Progres carried the torch further. I can only guess what the album is about. Even I am from Czech Republic and can understand the words, it's not so easy to really understand them (as in to get their meaning). I suppose it was band's intention. This makes the album more challenging and helps for repeated listens.

Of course, musically, Dialogue shows synth oriented sound, but it's not bad kind of synths. After all, we are talking about album which has a story that takes place entirely in space/there are topics about space, universe, planets and other sci-fi themes. Synths serves as atmosphere makers. The good thing is also variability of moods and genres here. From Hard Rock (really heavy sound) of Planeta Hieronyma Bosche (exactly what you would guess it means - Planet of Hieronymus Bosch, the famous "sinning" medieval painter), to half ballad, half long soloing track "Píseň o jablku" (A Song about an Apple).

A must if you want to explore more compelling music scene from Czechoslovakia era. I especially recommend expanded edition. Should be available through common ways (internet shops), but as with every artist from small country, that can be a bit of tricky. Yet another challenge I say.

Eclectic prog is probably description which fits here best, but when you hear these sounds, you can consider also term space rock. Not in classic meaning of this word, but in our specific, Czech way. Heavy using of synthesizers in rock music of 80s (talking only about Czech Republic). I'm aware that it's hard to understand, but even harder to describe. Conditions in Soviet, or Sov related countries in 80s were harsh, that can tell you any historicist, or people who lived here. Still 9 years till my birth, but I'm quite interested in recent history of 20th century and here I have many eye witnesses, simply people who lived here. And told me a story about past times.

Understanding these times is important for getting key to this record.

This is space themed record, names of songs (translated such as: "Earth 2555", "Shout in Proxima Centauri", "Planet of Hieronymus Bosch" and so on) are also cosmical (there's a pun in our language about name of space in English and Russian language translated to Czech language, it's quite complex joke). It's also story about artificial future, where are mostly machines, controlling every aspect of our lives. Human is alone, just solitary witness to this dystopia, to which he walked with optimistic steps.

I'm not afraid to call this masterpiece, it's so intelligent, with ironic to society, but yet kind lyrics, but at the same time some kind of prophetic about future and (whew), still stands as story about used-to-be times. Yeah (finally) and with great music too. I always wondered how I would appreciate all these English sounding prog songs (about 80% of them?) if I were native speaker. When talking about this, I'm pleased to the maximum. I understand perfectly everything what I only get in English records (not talking about Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portugal ones) after many listens. And sometimes even not then.

"Pisen o jablku" ("Song about the apple") is just metaphor, that we are trying to use world as much as we can, to the moment where only last bit of it remains (last apple seed in my hand part of lyrics), then we cries.

I like poetic lyrics.

So this can be considered as concept album, it has story, one theme and same sounding music - today we tune space sounds. 80s are generally considered as bad decade for musical arts, that's perhaps true, but there are exceptions (we all know Pendragon, Marillion, Peter Gabriel, Fates Warning etc). But that are new bands. Progres is older band, but still can take this approach perfectly. I know why. In history of Czech prog rock (not so big one as in for example UK, but because of it better to understand). My personal favourite is "Planeta H.B II.", because it's so heavy song, so psychedelic sounding (special way of Czech psychedelia, unique sound, not even little bit connected to classic psych prog rock)

I'm mostly realistic and I'm even now, but giving it something less than 5 would be blasphemy for someone with relationship to this album same as I have. And also from reasons given.

Czech Prog of the golden era in its best. While world's Prog movement had its heyday in 1971-1975, in Czechoslovakia, situation was more difficult. Slowed down by communism, conditions for releasing (and even playing) were harsh and so only few albums were released. Dialogue with the Universe is one of the (if not the) best albums.

Report this review (#235475)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I have reviewed their previous album "Maugli (As Barnodaj)" and I must admit it's almost shocking how much better "Dialog S Vesmirem" is compared to it. What happened in those 2 years ? This was apparently the first Rock Opera that was performed in Czechoslavakia and to get a taste of that you'd have to get the double live album that has the same title as this one. I'm so impressed with the bass, drumming and guitar work on this album.There's a JRF vibe at times and these guys can flat out play. Lots of synths here too. We do get vocals as well which sound good.

"V Zajeti Pocitacu" opens with an incredible guitar solo then the rest of the band kicks in around a minute.The bass here is huge. "Zeme 2555" opens with vocals and guitar then it kicks in fairly quickly. Catchy stuff and again the bass is very fat and the guitar impresses. "Pisen O Jabiku" has a spacey intro then acoustic guitar,vocals and bass standout.This is mellow but beautiful. Keys and synths follow. It picks up before 6 1/2 minutes. Love the bass and guitar here as we get a fantastic instrumental section right to the end. "Odlet" has this very epic intro then it settles in before a minute but it's uptempo.Vocals around 1 1/2 minutes. Chunky bass too. A powerful and dynamic final 2 minutes. Killer stuff.

"Planeta Hieronyma Boche I" is MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA-like to start. How good is this ! That changes when the vocals arrive 2 1/2 minutes in although it's still powerful. "Planeta Hieronyma Bosche II" opens with atmosphere and some ground shaking bass. It kicks in with drums after a minute. We get some vocals and vocal melodies. It settles after 3 minutes as the guitar starts to solo and it goes on and on right to the end. Amazing. "Ticise Mych Oci" opens with sounds that build including chunky bass. It calms down with vocals then kicks back in after 2 1/2 minutes with synths too. Nice. It settles again with vocals.The guitar to end it is incredible. "Hymna Robotu" opens with a drum solo that is so impressive. I'm not usually into them but this is inventive. Bass then vocals come in.

Well McFly is right this is a masterpiece and one of the best albums I have ever heard from the Czech Republic.

Report this review (#306249)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progres 2's Dialog s Vesmírem finds the Czech group putting out a capable prog rock album in a year when there were precious few quality releases. Star player on the album for me has to be Daniel Forró on keyboards, who is able to incorporate modern keyboards into his music in a unique manner which manages to sound fresh and new and avoids nostalgia whilst also evading the now rather dated sound of many early 80s synthesiser works, but I also have to pay tribute to Pavel Váně and Milos Morávek, whose heavy guitar offerings put me in mind of a proggier Jimi Hendrix.
Report this review (#864082)
Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Late during the recordings of the ''Maugli'' album Sochor parted ways with the band, which found suitable replacements in the talents of Karel Horky (keyboards) and Milos Moravek (guitar).They were renamed instantly in Progres 2 and started working on an impressive sci-fi Rock Opera, as proposed by their manager Oskar Man, dealing with a man who wanted to escape from the materialistic society and find peace in an infinite universe.The first performance of this work took place in February 1978 at the Exhibition Theater of Brno and several concerts followed throughout their homecountry, resulting to a number of about 350 lives by 1980.Meanwhile the band was working on the studio edition of the album, during which Horky left to study at the Janacek Academy and some keyboard parts were played by Pavel Pelc.The album ''Dialog s vesmirem'' was eventually released in 1980 on the Panton label.

Despite being a quite long Prog Opera, the band decided to cut parts of the original version, because some of them were not found suitable for the studio edition.These were offered to the public through a few singles released around the same time.Regarding the original version, Progres 2 had definitely grown as a group, both lyrically and musically, and ''Dialog s vesmirem'' finds them exploring the territories of Space and Prog Rock, dominating the style with the use of string, minimoog and Yamaha synthesizers and adding the psychedelic elements of the past along with a bunch of Classical inspirations and heavier textures.They came close to bands like PINK FLOYD, SBB, ELOY and ex-Soviets HORIZONT, offering a devastating, intricate and adventurous combination of poetry, atmospheric soundscapes and complex arrangements.Their material was characterized by the mixture of edgy guitars and powerful synthesizers, breaking into cinematic images with floating keyboards and Classical touches and leading often to frenetic instrumentals with quirky synth moves and complicated guitar exercises.The atmosphere, as a result, ranges from bombastic and energetic themes to dynamic guitar sections and laid-back movements.There are multiple tempo changes and instrumental efficiency in here, complemented by echoes of the past, when the band was more towards conventional songwriting.But the overall performance is extremely artistic and professional with great ideas and compentent arrangements.

The whole ''Dialog s vesmirem'' opera had been reissued, including the tracks from the singles, offering an even better idea on the band's musical style.The early live execution of this piece of art has also been issued on a couple of eponymous releases.Whatever version you choose, this is some great Space/Psych/Prog in the vein of SBB and ELOY with impressive instrumental parts and poetic lyrics, no less than strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1289853)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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