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

JESKYNE (CAVES)

Uz Jsme Doma

RIO/Avant-Prog


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progpositivity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It is only because Uz Jsme Doma prominently features trumpet on energetic songs that sometimes emphasize the up-beats that the 1990's infected brain of this Dallas Texas resident keeps wanting to connect musical dots back to "third-wave" USA Ska and/or Latin American music. And although those surface similarities do exist on Uz Jsme Doma's 2010 album Jeskyne,, this music has so much more to offer than that.

Most notably the rhythms are varied and widely syncopated. Ambitious tonality spices up the music just enough to achieve a hint of RIO taste. If you aren't a RIO fan, don't let that intimidate you. This music is very accessible.

I'll go out on a limb and infer that 3 / 4 is the predominant time signature in the popular music of the Czech Republic ? as 3 / 4 (or variants thereof) are the "meat and potatoes" underpinning most of these songs.

The first two tracks lead off the album in a catchy and energetic manner. But it was Track 3 ("Propost") that first caught my ear as something truly special. Although most of the song is in 3 / 4 time, accents make "all the difference" during the introductory sequence: Measure One: Emphasize beat 1 Measure Two: Emphasize beats 1 and 3 Measure Three: Emphasize beats 2 and 3 Measure Four: Emphasize beat 1 Measure Five: Emphasize beats 2 and 3 Repeat

Later in the song we are treated to a passage which repeats 3 measures of 3 beats followed by one measure of 2 beats.

A middle vocal dominated section combines a chant-like vibe with careful use of cowbell. Very different ? and very good!

Navijak (Reel) is an energetic 5/4 tune with nice vocal harmony and no shortage of punchy bass and distorted electric guitar.

Valounek (Nugget) reminds me a bit of the 1980's new wave band Big Country ? if Big Country had a trumpet player, implemented more varied syncopation and a huge dynamic range of course ? so you will have to judge for yourself how valid (or invalid) that reference point it! Facinace (Fascination) Here we get a hyperactive chant in 4 / 4. Bass and guitar play 8 with trumpet answering back for another 8. The syncopated cowbell in the middle of this song is delightful! Unexpectedly, a pastoral passage of acoustic guitar and beautiful vocalizing commandeers the remaining 1:42 of the song.

Stropy (Ceilings) is another standout track. It begins in 13/8. Or it may sound more natural to feel it as two 3/4 measures with a little extra half-beat added at the end of the 2nd measure of 3.

On Mariana (Marianne) a new texture is created by layering an octave lower register vocal line on top of the normal lead vocal.

We have so many 3 measures on this album, that when the band breaks into 4 / 4 on Puklinka, it becomes oddly compelling! The accents are all over the place and they drop a quick 3 measure in sparingly, just often enough to keep us on our toes! The "La La La" sections inject a humor that reminds me of Yezda Urfa.

Special Thanks to Moses for turning me on to this band!

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Send comments to progpositivity (BETA) | Report this review (#282216)
Posted Sunday, May 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars Funny thing is that their Czech fans are mostly those who loves Punk Rock. I first heard about this album when I was on UJD's gig this autumn (in Pilsen, I was so keen about them that I simply wanted to have a photo with them - and so I did, after bothering band few minutes - they didn't seem bothered at all actually, but I'm just fan, they are artists). It was basically my first experience with them and also my first Prog gig. I have nice poster from this performance, but more important is that I realized few important facts about this music.

Firstly, it is some kind of Czech tradition that a lot of good, progressive (original / interesting) bands comes from Punk roots. This, KNS (that aren't here on PA yet, but I expect them to be) and few others. Secondly, there is usually insanely weird element.

Song names like Valounek (Little Boulder), Stropy (Ceilings) or Puklinka (ahem, "Little Crack", probably in forementioned ceiling). Because this is concept album, there has to be some kind of topic. This topic is Cave, Speleology, exploring the depths of caves, dark tunnels. It's actually quite funny in very surrealistic and crazy way. That's exactly what I like. Of course, your experience (as I suppose this review will be mostly read by English-speaking readers) won't be as good as mine, but don't worry. It's not exactly Frank Zappaesque kind of weirdness, but more unique one, poetic, melancholic, yet funny one. Hard to describe though.

Hard riffs, Ska element in ever-present (and some kind of tradermark) trumpet and as most of their songs/albums, not so noisy (as gigs tends to be).

Wild experience, but exactly what I expecting from U? jsme doma, literally "We're Home Now" (or "We're Home Already"), one of the Czech finest modern bands.

If you're OK with use of trumpet in Prog, you should be fine. And maybe it's just me, but some parts reminds me another Czech Avant groups, "Psí vojáci" (except they aren't that Hard, but not less weird).

5(-), it's maybe too early to give more. But it's possibility, as I don't hear any mistakes. Nothing at all. Only good Avant-Garde wild Punk dipped ride through insane minds of Miroslav Wanek, other band members (who are equally important) with help of talented surrealist artist Martin Velí?ek.

And one more thing - when using these words like "insane" or "weird", I mean it positively, not in a bad way.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#284890)
Posted Friday, June 04, 2010 | Review Permalink
TheGazzardian
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars If I'm honest, I'm surprised more hasn't been said about this album as of the time of writing. This release is an excellent, high energy release by this Czech band.

The band is composed of your typical drum/bass/guitar/keys/vocals, with the addition of trumpets provided by Adam Tomasek. The trumpets really add a lot of flavour to the music and lend the band a distinctive sound. That sound, by the way, can be described as in-your-face fast-paced music with a punk-like energy. From the moment that the trumpet starts playing on the second track, you know that you are in for quite a ride with this album. (The first track is a less-than-a-minute-long atmospheric track).

There are a total of 11 tracks on the album, a shorter, more atmospheric closer and opener, and then nine "meat" tracks that range in length from 3 and a half to 5 and a half minutes. I am a big fan of the nine main tracks because of their great energy but the opener and closer really serve to tie together the album.

The most energetic and unabashedly catchy ride I've been taken on so far this year. Recommended!

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Send comments to TheGazzardian (BETA) | Report this review (#354693)
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP
Admin / Heavy Prog Team
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.

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#374834)
Posted Thursday, January 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I cannot help notice a trend in the Scandinavian countries towards punk'ing up folk music and releasing album with this blend. This is not a blend I am fond of. The proper word is "disdain", really.

Unfortunate, this trend has spread to the mainland Europe too.

To my dismay, this album starts with a punk rock song with folk music creeping into the mix too. The vocals (including the football stadium choirs) are typical punk, backed up by some woodwinds and other instruments who plays folk music and folk rock. I gather the band has done some RIO albums before, because Jeskyne does not comes across as a typical RIO/ Avant-Garde album in my books. Not by a country mile. OK, there are some hints of RIO, but that's all.

The music is good throughout. Navij?k is by far the best song here where the punk has taken a bit of a backseat. The rest of the album is OK and at times enjoyable. But I have my strong objections and awards it a weak feeble three stars. Sorry !

3 stars (barely)

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#427538)
Posted Monday, April 04, 2011 | Review Permalink

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