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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) - Nová Syntéza [Aka: New Synthesis] CD (album) cover


Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars Blood,Sweat & Tears meets Purple!

Radim Hladik's band Modry Efekt was certainly one of the most important progressive bands in former Czechoslovakia as mentioned already in their biography. This record contains what could be called an equivalent to Deep Purple's work together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra two years before with the difference that here we're dealing with a Jazz Orchestra. And though usually I'm not that much a fan of big band sound I've to say this experiment had worked out quite successfully. Probably because unlike with Purple's it was really a "new synthesis" between rock and big band jazz music. Especially on the long title track one gets the impression of listening to a type of "Glenn Miller in Rock". I've received both of these two rare albums together with some bonus songs (not with English titles, so I guess different ones than listed here) luckily in a MP3-pack. I found them a quite enjoyable listen though I've to say not as interesting as the extra material from their other albums.

Nova Synteza is without any doubts a very good album but I'd hesitate to call it an essential one. Anyway recommended to lovers of brass music and fans of this band. I'd add an extra half star!

Report this review (#84375)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars An instrumental album, the band recorded with a jazz orchestra. Some of the songs were originally sung, but the group probably could not record them because of Communist pressure.

Má hra 4 The first half is dominated by the orchestra, playing the catchy main theme, the second one has the band present as well, with a marvelous fast heavy rock out passage after the 5:30 mark. Great work by Hladík and bassist Jiří Kozel playing in unison. Hladík plays a lightning fast and ferocious lead. Great, although the cooperation between the two ensemble´s is not that inmspiring as when they are playing on their own.

Směr jihovýchod 5 More cooperation as well as as cohesion. The number is somewhat slower and more dreamy. Hladík ´s guitar really bends well with the bras section on this one. Overal, the melody is much more jazzy than the previous one. Hladík gets again a graet solo, which is les raw than on the previous number and seems to be carefully constructed. The fast part slows into a moodier part again, but without repeating the opening theme.

Popínavý břečťan 5 Even better. The main melody is very catchy and Hladík even plays s fabulous slide (which is rare for him). Great powerful drumming from Vlado Čech as well. Many duets between the group and orchestra. Hladík even puls of a fabulous subtler jazz y solo interrupted by one on the bass by Jiří Kozel. His playing on this one reminds me of Leo Lyons from Ten Years after. Then, the song concludes with the opening theme. The keyboards are very much in the background, as on the previous songs.

Blues modrého efektu 2.5 As the title suggests, it is a relaxed bluesy song. Finally,the organ(who plays it?) somewhat better to hear as it is more upfront. Radím Hladík plays some long leads and the orchestra does some nice backing work for the band on this one, but overall, the number sounds not that inspired and some passages are boring and lack spark the previous numbers have.

Nová syntéza 5 A great riff opens this one, whre Hladík compliments well with the orchestra. Soon we have the whole band playing agreably tight, with the orchestra providing good backing. Vlado čech gets than a solo on drums.It is nice, as Hladík soon joins his solo creating some guitar noise and the same does Kozel on bass. Pretty funky. Then the band gets in a jazzier groove, with a nice piano solo. The next part is short and trippy, before Hladík plays a bit of self-indulgent gymnastics, but then we get to a marvelous, quiet slow part with an almost lullaby-like melody, before rocking out again with the orchestra added. Hladík plays a blazing solo and then we return to a more easy going mood with Hladík doing a terrific guitar solo on slide guitar and the horn section coming more to the fore, before both the band and orchestra play again the main theme.

Report this review (#129302)
Posted Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Really dissapoting 'synthesis'

Beacause of the word "Synteza" - which means "fusion" - I was expecting something big. Like all of this fusion-suites stuff like King Crimson, Soft Machine, Miles Davis. Or even like Czeslaw Niemen's (from the same part of Europe) "Enigmatic" [1968]. The 9:02 and 14:22 minute long tracks ("Ma Hra" and "Nova synteza") and use of Jazz Orchestra was only heating up my - nomen omen - 'great expectations'.

What a big dissapointment! This album absolutely lacks any longer jazz or progressive parts, any interesting compositions or solos. I'ts 'just' some blues+orchestra stuff, reminding rather film music or average 'festival music', that was used to played often in dozens of festivals in Eastern Europe.

In my opinion - it's just for total Blue Effect fans. Any prog- oraz jazzrock lover won't find here anything gripping.

Report this review (#266014)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars New Synthesis is the translation of Nova Synteza. Initially I thought to be listening to the Hungarian After Crying as the opener "Ma Hra (My Gane)" is full of trumpet and brasses so very similar to the usual sound of that band. It's a complex track with several sections that's very far from the blues of the debut and the jazz of the follow-up. It's a sort of symphonic prog with some jazz-fusion accents near to the final just before the brasses are back. The orchestral arrangement has the sound of the big jazz orchestras, nothing to do with ELP. Effectively it's the "Cekoslovakian Jazz Orchestra" guested in this album.

"Smer Jihovichod (Direction East)" Is again orchestral with the main role played by the trumpet. The soft parts in which the brasses stop to leave the scene to the strings can remind to Soft Machine's "Land Of Cockayne", but not so soft. There's more rock, specially in the uptime central part of the song which features a good guitar solo.

Still orchestral with "Popínavý břečťan (Rambling Ivy)" it's tendentially more blues, with the lead guitar alternated to the brasses. It sounds a bit spy-movie but is not bad. Suddenly, in the middle of the track, there's a swing section lead by bass with a jazz-blues guitar solo followed by a part made only by bass and drums. An excellent moment.

"Blues Modrého efektu (Blue Effect's Blues)" Is as the title says a standard blues on which guitar and sax alternate their efforts.

"Nove Synteza" starts like ELP's "New Orleans". Not so weird, of course. It quickly turns to be jazz-blues for few time after which there's a long drums solo followed by a part more rock. The kind of blues-rock that one could have expected to find at Woodstock. This song is continuously about to take off, but it doesn't do it and this is a bit frustrating. Also when the musics seem to be stopping and turning to psychedelic, there's some disappointment. It remains close to be psych without really trying to change to something different. However this is an interesting part, but not interesting enough to make an epic of this 15 minutes track. At minute 10:30 it effectively ends to be replaced again by the Hendrix- like guitar sound. Another stop, then trumpets and claps to allow an orchestral blues to close the album.

It's an enjoyable disc, but it represents a little step back respect to "Conjuctio". 3 stars to this one, too.

Report this review (#440300)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars One of the most popular Czech Rock bands with links to almost every known Prog/Jazz Rock from the country, The Blue Effect from Praga were formed in 1968 by guitarist Radim Hladik and singer Vladimír Mi?ík, both coming from Matadors.The line-up included also bassist Jiri Kozel, drummer Vlado Cech and guitarist Milos Svoboda, who quit the next year.In 1970 they released their Psych/Blues Rock-influenced debut ''Meditace'' on Supraphon along with the Jazz Rock album ''Coniunctio'' in collaboration with Jazz Q.It was around the time when Misik left to join Flamengo, replaced by singer/keyboardist Le?ek Semelka.Renamed to Modry Efekt they released their second work ''Nova Synteza'' in 1971 on Panton label with the help of the Czechoslovakian Jazz Orchestra.

''Nova Synteza'' shows Modry Efekt taking a more artistic approach on their music, leaving the psych influences of their debut for a much more Jazz-oriented sound, inspired obviously by their co-performance with Jazz Q Praha on ''Coniunctio''.This sounds actually like a Brass Orchestra backing up a pure rock band, where there is enough space for both extreme guitar solos with a powerful sound as well as intense and frenetic brass sections.The compositions are long and as the album unfolds Hladik shows an incredible jazzy background on his guitar solos, while the Jirí Kozel offers also some freestyle jazzy bass lines supported by the smooth drumming of Cech.The Czechoslovakian Jazz Orchestra seems often the leading force of the album.Tons of melodic introductions and jazzy interventions performed by a great mass of brass instrumentalists.There are also some light organ waves to be found sporadically, but the Blues influences is still apparent at moments, while the intense use of brass instruments adds a dose of Soul in some orchestrations.

Not a fully developed sound, but a step towards the right direction from these Czech masterminds.Hladik's incredible guitar performance is alone a good reason to reach this work, which has been reissued with some bonus tracks from the group's early years.Recommended.

Report this review (#884433)
Posted Sunday, December 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Nova synteza is my fourth album by Modry Efekt and it takes me right into the big band side of rock/prog/jazz. Being a fan of pompous, overblown (meant in every possibly positive wa) and highly ambitious experimentations in the merging of genres, I like this. Echoes of other contemporaries such as Centipede, CCS, New Trolls (circa Concerto grosso) and Deep Purple's Concerto for group and orcehstra resound in the music displayed on Nova synteza.

The album opens in grand fashion with a slumbering organ and goes straight into furios orchestrated jazz-rock. It is, as a whole, a very cohesive album and gives the listener the sense of listening to a classical piece or suit, albeit strewn with rock and blues. The fact that the music sometimes resemble the soundtracks of action movies from the same era makes it, in my opinion, all the more amusing and interesting..

I think that Nova synteza is a very good album and I do enjoy it every time I return to it. I just find that the music is not as memorable as on later albums and I prefer, actually, the coming Modry Efekt, being more focused on the band itself and the sounds, imagery and soundscapes they are so capable of producing. They seem to drown, sometimes, in the orchestrated arena.

In short, Nova synteza is a very enjoyable listening experience and represents the past, before the future, the ever so great, came into being. Musically it is a treat but it sticks to your (i.e. my) mind as an album, not as individual tracks, which is a shame. A truly great album provides both. Three solid stars and hats off to the bold attempt.

Report this review (#940044)
Posted Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permalink

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