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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) - Meditace (Kingdom of Life) CD (album) cover

MEDITACE (KINGDOM OF LIFE)

Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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3 stars A good record, but definitely not prog. Mostly blues inspired (Blues about stone), some guitardominated rockers (Rainy Day, Where is my star, Deserted alley) tracks with hints of psychedelia (Blue Effect Street), one short filler instrumental (Sluneční hrob), a few ballads (Fénix, Paměť lásky). It is easy to see that the band was full of great instrumentalist even at this early stage (Hladík´s solos on Blue Effect Street, Deserted alley or Where is my star), great bass work (Little girl ,Rainy day) as well as drums (Where is my star, Blue effect street). But still, quite a few numbers are sub par in terms of songwriting (Stroj na nic, Little girl, Blues about stone), but there are a few gems there (dramatic Paměť lásky, the melodic, guitar driven Deserted alley, eastern flavoured Blue effect street, the tight Where is my star). The bonus tracks on the 1996 re-issue are in the same vein, a fine, emotional mlodic balld (Sluneční blues), a nice psychedelic rocker (Sen není věčný), a catchy midtempo rhytm and blues (I like the world) and a few missteps (the goofy Snakes, the horrible cover of Got my Mojo working).

Ratings of songs in terms of appearance: 5+5+4+2+1+2+5+2+3.5+5=34:10=3.4 stars bonus tracks:5+5+1+5+5+1+5=27:7=3.9 stars

GOOD, BUT NON-ESSENTIAL

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Send comments to Peto (BETA) | Report this review (#129297)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover and E&O Teams
4 stars Certainly not just Blues, even I have to agree that there are influences of this genre. After all, this band started like Blues band, doing also some covers of USA Blues bands.

However, Meditace (Meditation) is very mature release. Even still not so Jazz as their later albums, this album shines both in music form and lyrics (mostly philosophical thinking about various aspects of life and death). There is strong Symphonic inspiration, but in Czech style, which means that you can have symphonic melody with trumpets playing + harmonica here and there. It's possibility, because it was simply the way how things were made here. Blue Effect were trying to keep their heads above rising water of "normalization" (bans on bands, oppression on free-thinking and anti-socialistic ideas, such as English names / lyrics).

Meditace hits me emotionally, it's first hand confession about times, when it still was quite good (considering what will came in 70s, so they had to move to Jazz later). Stroj na nic (Machine for nothing) is - you guess - about machine that does nothing, but everyone admires it. I sense ironic double meaning. It's more Rock song, but it has its better Prog moments too, especially it shows how great Czech guitar virtuoso Radim Hladík can play. Even there are other songs/albums where he can do better.

However, some songs are simply unable to abandon blues basis completely and this, from Prog point of view, prevents it from reaching higher ratings. On the other hand, there is plethora of ideas, really original ideas made from both desperation and from need to create. Lineup on this album is full of people who will become either masters of their genres (lyricists, guitarists) or simply very respected musicians.

4(+), trying to be fair.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#286602)
Posted Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I honestly believe Blue Effect is one of best (if not the best) Czech band ever. Just listen to their albums from early 70-s! But - this debut album is different (and the year is 1969).

Music here is eclectic mix of blues-rock, guitar rock ballads, early psychedelic and symphonic rock. I listen the "export ?version with English vocals, and it doesn't sound good for me (don't know if Czech vocals in original sounds better). Songs are something very usual for just a band from late 60 -s: obvious Procol Harum influence, some fashionable bluesy rockers, competent but far from excellent musicianship. Better than average tribute band, hardly more.

It is almost miracle, how a year after same Blue Effect will show their highest class on free-jazz-rock fusion collaboration album with Jazz Q Praha! So - to listen one of the best Czech band ever just start from their 1970 album (and some later works all are brilliant). Debut is interesting for heavy band fans and Czech rock collectors mostly.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#290395)
Posted Thursday, July 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
octopus-4
COLLABORATOR
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
3 stars As for the FROMUZ that are a band distant both in space and time from this MODRY EFEKT, I don't know why they are classified as a JR/F band. The recitation and the symphonic elements of the opener are for me closer to the symphonic prog of the Hungarian AFTER CRYING, but it's 1969 and the influence of American psychedelia is evident on "Blue Effect Street" that sounds quite hippy with the instrumental parts reminding GRATEFUL DEAD or BIG BROTHER and THE HOLDING COMPANY, and the choirs like the debut of RENAISSANCE.

However this is a band of very skilled elements. The guitar on this track seems sometimes being "tapped" ten years before this technique was introduced in metal. The song is good enough and I like all the bands that I have mentioned.

"Fenix" has a bit of eclectism more. In few seconds it passes from Blues to Symphonic to Beat. It's very dated to its epoch, but it's absolutely good. I would define it as a "R&B" song because of the brass section and the kind of vocals.

"Stroj na nic" is a blues-rock song with a great guitar behind. Early BLUE OYSTER CULT with R&B brasses...that means something original at these times. And don't forget that they were playing music with American influences from behind the iron curtain just after the repression following the "Prague's spring". Not an easy choice probably.

On "Sluneční hrob" they are on classical influences. It's a short instrumental, like a medieval leid.

Now a blues. In 1969 every band had to play at least one blues piece for album. This is special in the flute solo (I think it was the flute) which has a very acid sound. For the rest it's just a traditional rock-blues. The guitar is clean and jazzy but effectively there's nothing special or particularly prog in this song.

"Deserted Alley" opens acoustic and acid. It's what can be called a psychedelic moment. The melody goes over non-trivial chords and the pauses make me think to MOODY BLUES with a touch of HENDRIX in the guitar solo parts.

The first time I listened to "Blues About Stone" I initially thought to PINK FLOYD's More, but this is just another "standard" slow blues with the bass playing loud enough to supply to the absence of keyboards. A reference can be "Earth and Water Sonf" of the HUMBLE PIE.

Also "Rainy Day" is bluesy, but on the rock side. The vocals are powerful and clean. This song anticipates "Very Heavy Very Humble". There are similarities, but URIAH HEEP came later.

The album is closed by "Where is My Star". It's one of the most progressive songs of the album, again incredibly precursor of URIAH HEEP. The solo in the middle is almost classic blues-rock. However this song contains some hints of the eclectism and experimentalism that this band will apply later.

This debut is one of thier "easiest" albums. Even if I stick on 3 stars please consider that even if non-essential it's GOOD.

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Send comments to octopus-4 (BETA) | Report this review (#414413)
Posted Friday, March 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Here's me thinking that ModrY Efekt's first album was a blues record and nothing else. How wrong was I? Well, actually not all wrong. Just not totally right either. There are clear blues influences to be found throughout this album, alongside ballads, hard rock, sunshine pop and, I dare not say it, prog. Actually I find this album to be more of a progressive blues album than prog. There are Jethro Tull-like excursions (circa This was) and a blend of other sounds to be found in 1969. There is little to be blown away by here, I find. It is kind of straight forward blues/rock/pop, albeit skilfully constructed and performed.

The music is rather standardized stuff, although they do tend to stretch the boundaries a bit. The greatness to come is only evident in the musicianship. The music is enjoyable and listenable. It thunders along quite nice but never takes off. I wish they'd sung in their native toungue throughout. As it is now I tend to be more or less annoyed by the english vocals.

The most mindblowing thing about these recordings are the progression they made on the next album, Coniunctio. Going from this, sort of average, blues rock to the all out freakish, freeform jazz is staggering. From then on they never stopped progressing. Never looking back, they stormed onwards and on. Meditace is, in that respect, the beginning of a glorious journey to greatness and genius. I love Modry Efekt and as a result I lime this album for what it represents, more than it's contents. If you are looking for their peak of powers, go for any of their albums between 1974-1981. When you've listened to them, try this one and see their origins and from what humble beginnings they came. That is the marvellous thing about it all. The marvellous thing about Modry Efekt.

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Send comments to GruvanDahlman (BETA) | Report this review (#945615)
Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | Review Permalink

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