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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) - Svitanie CD (album) cover


Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars This is one of the best prog records I've ever heard and my favorite by this outstanding Czechoslovak band. The amazing thing is, that the LP can be bought for a dollar or two here in Slovakia:) The note on the cover says: "Within the world frame we might find some common features by carefully listening for example with the British Yes (in instrumentation), it regards, however only similar ways of looking for new forms of rock music in which improvisation is repressed by greater interest in large composition formations and constriction of large colour spaces as ell as formation of qualitatively different moods..." There is some similarity to Yes, but the overall sound and mood is very different and there is no distinctive vocal in the mix - the album is almost entirely instrumental, although there is some fine singing by the bassist Fedor Freso, who was a lead singer only on two records in his 35 year career. Tracks 1 and 3 are amazing instrumental gems with constantly changing moods and tempos and outstanding instrumental performances especially by the leader of the band, guitarist Radim Hladik. The melodies and harmonies are beautiful and easily accessible. The second track is a rock arrangement of a slovak folk song with great vocals by Freso. Side B consists only of the epic 20 minutes long track Svitanie (Dawning). It is a great composition, although not the best of the album from my point of view(as those epics usually are). I love the harmony vocal part and the beautiful poetic lyrics. But there is some extended soloing in the middle part of the song which lasts a bit longer than it should. To sum it up, this album is highly recommended to any prog fan, and especially to those who like the 70's prog and are looking for something fresh.
Report this review (#33859)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Good album, but a bit too derivative of then-current jazz-rock trends (i.e. too much Fender Rhodes and Starsky-and-Hutch funkery) and yes, the instrumental break in Svitanie is MUCH too long. But there is genuine talent here, as was evidenced by the even-better Svet Hledacu and the truly excellent farewell album, 33. Hladik is in good form - on his day, he could match Akkerman or Beck.
Report this review (#94842)
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Now known as M Efekt, this group is almost entirely rebuilt from scratch from its previous incarnation of 73 (even if the album was released in 75) around Hladic and Cech, welcoming ex Collegium Musicum Fedor Freso on bass and Synkopy61 Oldrich Vesely keyboardist. The quartet now formed some sort of CzechMoravianSlovakian supergroup, modifying their sound to a very Yes-like soundscape. Generally known as their better works among progheads, this writer can't help but preferring their more fusion-esque album like their 73 album. While I have yet to see this album in Cd format with its original red & orange artwork instead of this bland b&w photo, this album IS indeed one of ME's best, because while being sort of derivative, ME manages to sound like their own group with its own sound.

With a very pleasant start with the 10-min Vysoka track, the group manages to foray through a large panel of moods and ambiances without sounding like "going through the motions", and it shows in the group's enthralling music. The shorter (relatively) Pada Rodenska is an absolutely fantastic Moravian folk song interrupted by some bold and daring Daffy/Donald Duck-like synth noises, but the track is probably the most memorable. Closing the album's first side is the Popoludni track is a bit jazzier than the rest of the album but closing weird synths

The sidelong title-track "epic" is a slow starter, with some multi-voiced lines, sending us towards Yes and early Soft Machine, finally lifting off around the 9-min mark, when the group takes Yes and Genesis-like unison march and adapt it to Slavic charms. The track gets lost a bit in a lengthy slower passage before returning to the early opening passages of the track. Considering the 19-min+ of the track, it seems this track could've been held to some 12 mins without losing a note, the useless expansion stopping this track from being of epic proportions. I find that ME's vocal delivery on this album is very much Italian-like, but timbre-wise, it sounds like a cross of Jon Anderson and Ian Gillan, if you can picture that.

The Cd re-issue comes with one bonus track, the harder-edged almost 7-min Golem, which would fit the album superbly if it had been better sung, but overall it is a very worthy addition. Almost quite as good as their 73 album, but quite different as well, you can easily jump on thios album, if you are into a symphonic mood.

Report this review (#148288)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars That Radim Hladík is Czech Steve Howe ? That bass is very great here ? Let's see if these rumours are true.

Partially, this is very symphonic album. Not like their 1975 one which is great too, but in different way. Here, you can enjoy every sound produced, close your eyes and dream. You won't even notice that second track is Czech (in fact dialect of Czech, Moravian language) folklore song, performed in "this" style. Well, maybe it's Slovakian (they're very similar). I was little bit afraid of last track, so called epic. But even first minutes were not masterpiece, towards the end, it become one of the most original (so new sound), but still interesting LP side.

5(-) guys, one of the best of Czech 70's, but I wasn't expecting less from Modrý Efekt.

Report this review (#250649)
Posted Saturday, November 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I wasn't blown away like I hoped I would be but this is very good music regardless. Not as good as say SBB or FERMATA's best albums, and I mention them because they're all in the same ballpark when it comes to music style. Anyway this is top notch playing with some inventive arrangments making this a must have.

"Vysoka Stolicka, Dlhy Popol" settles in with organ before a minute. Drums join in as it builds. Nice prominant bass here too. Guitar after 3 minutes. A calm 4 1/2 minutes in with synths. A classical vibe 6 1/2 minutes in then the guitar returns and it's outstanding. Great section. "Ej, Pada Rosenka" builds to an impressive instrumental display then it settles with vocals. Beautiful guitar work before 4 minutes with crisp drumming and throbbing bass lines. Gorgeous. Vocals come in as it settles again late.

"V Sobotu Popoludni" sounds amazing with huge bass lines. It picks up with guitar before 1 1/2 minutes. Synths follow. Check out the guitar before 3 minutes. There's that bass again. "Svitanie" is the side long closer. Atmosphere to opens. Vocals before 4 1/2 minutes as the atmosphere continues. Finally it comes to life 7 1/2 minutes in with drums then guitar leading the way. The guitar is lighting it up 9 1/2 minutes in. More killer guitar after 13 minutes. It's spacey with string synths after 16 minutes. The guitar solos beautifully as drums and bass support. Vocals are back before 18 minutes as it becomes atmospheric again like the start of this song.

A solid 4 stars.

Report this review (#290309)
Posted Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my second album by Modry Efekt and I am pleasently surprised, yet again. It is a step forward, in some ways, from the previous effort. The previous album was in many ways very hard rock or heavy prog in it's sound and composition, while "Svitanie" is more symphonic and in some respecs more elaborate and complex.

My favorite track is "Ej, pad', pad' rosenka". I have no idea what it means but I do understand the music. Excellent playing, great organ and a guitar solo to die for. The track mixes heavier sounds with great subtlety and sensibility. It is a track I cannot stop listening to.

The first four tracks are all great and provides the listener with symphonic, complex yet instant prog. The jazz rock of the album before is almost gone, giving way for the sound of the last years of Modry Efekt. I do hear echoes of Yes but also other bands of the genre, like Exodus. Great stuff, retaining a true personality of it's own.

The title track begins really interesting but grows into a blues workout which I do not approve of. I am not impartial to blues. On the contrary. It is simply so that blues performed in this way, although it is the roots of the band, belongs somewhere else. The track becomes a blues number dressed in a framework of prog. It hides the brilliance that so obviously is there. Shame, really. I may change my mind but at the moment I am not amused.

Overall, though, "Svitanie" is yet again a great album from a great band. Easily four stars. More symphonic than the previous, which shows just how progressive this band was. Amazing stuff!

Report this review (#935289)
Posted Tuesday, March 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Comprised of four pieces of grandly symphonic, occasionally complex, predominantly vocal free and endlessly melodic prog rock ranging between four and nineteen minutes, `Svitanie' is a (mostly) instrumental prog fans dream come true. Hailing from Czechoslovakia, Blue Effect/Modry Efekt, calling themselves simply M Efekt by the time this sixth album came around in 1977, rarely fall back on inane padded jamming, instead moving through a range of carefully composed and varied musical passages. Think of a more restrained Finch that doesn't mind the odd ambient break, or alternatively a harder rocking version of Focus without the classical bombast driven by fiery and ragged Steve Howe (Yes) flavoured electric guitar runs. Elements of funk and jazz/fusion also show up, frequently brought to life by tons of Hammond, Mellotron and Fender Rhodes flourishes.

Many sections of ten minute opener `Vysoka...' is fuelled by both Radim Hladik's urgent, almost manic electric guitar runs and Oldrich Vesely's regal church organ pomp, bristling Mellotron veils and electric piano prettiness. This confident and tasteful piece is loaded with memorable themes, a range of tempos and moods with stop-start blasts of power, and even a few brief whimsical and light-footed moments remind of Gentle Giant and Fruupp, and Vlado Cech's drumming is like a ferocious storm that takes hold of your attention. `El, Pada...' is a drifting organ lament, with plenty of stirring and highly emotional electric guitar soloing throughout and a short dignified raspy vocal. `V Sobotu...' is a quick fusion by way of ELP-styled instrumental, with super thick Hammond organ, wild thunderstorm drumming and Fedor Freso's punishing reverberating bass around quirky electronics and some wailing electric guitar noise.

Lots of build and slowly unwinding atmosphere in the side long title track. Eerie droning ambient electronics, rising cymbal tension and sustained Hammond mystery ebbs and flows against the listener likes waves on a beach shore. After a brief vocal passage, the piece lurches to life with some dirty swaggering treated bluesy electric guitar soloing, reminding of both Krokodil's `An Invisible World Revealed' and some Man albums. The bass rumbles like a damn earthquake erupting inside your speakers, the piece twists with frenetic noisy Hammond spirals, nimble jazzy electric guitar licks and a powerful climax.

Without a doubt, M. Efekt's `Svitanie' is truly sumptuous symphonic frequently instrumental brilliance, and fans of Finch's `Glory of the Inner Force', Focus' `Focus III', the Sebastian Hardie albums and maybe Schicke Fuhrs and Frohling's `Symphonic Pictures' should track this one down right away. It's also now available in a limited double CD package along with Gattch's breezy and easy to enjoy self titled work from 1972, so there's no better excuse to rediscover this gem, and learn to quickly treasure it.

Four and a half stars.

(thanks to fellow Prog Archives member Sagi for insisting I keep at this one, it's proven to be a wonderful addition to my collection that I can't get enough of!)

Report this review (#1273561)
Posted Tuesday, September 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Between the four albums from M Effekt that I have (Hadin Hladik & M Effekt, Svietanie, Svet Hledacu and 33) I think this one is superior by the others, even in relation to Svet Hledacu, another fantastic album. The inclusion in their line up of Fedor Freso(Bass guitar) and Oldrich Vesel' (Keyboards Vocals) contributes for a more symphonic progressive rock approaching in detriment of jazzy vein presents in their previous album... This affirmation is notable soon at the first track "Vysok' stolicka, dlh' popol" starting with a fantastic keyboard introduction follow by a "broken" guitar/drums/bass sequence and a majestic and simple hammond chords making a sumptuous overture from a incredible chain of musical "landscapes" in a very complex composition, I can't detach any passage in special, but, one beautiful moment starts around 4 min 25 sec with a pedal volume guitar with a bass guitar making a counterpoint, this track are full of retakes of previous themes 'crowning" a perfect arrangement .The track 2 "Ej, pad', pad' rosenka " is one of more beautiful ballads ( with a great guitar solo). The track 3 "V sobotu popoludn'" is more close of jazz-rock and shows a passage (starting 2 min 08 sec.) with a certain Gentle Giant "flavor". In Track 4 "Svitanie" is a mix of psych- prog/hard rock and blues... simply brilliant ! The Bonus track "Gollem" is a heavy-prog with a melancholic end. In my opinion this album is essential in any prog collection !!!
Report this review (#1447988)
Posted Saturday, August 1, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars The peak period of Blue Effect's career saw them wavering somewhere in the hazy border region between progressive rock and jazz fusion; on Svitanie, they seem deeper in more traditional prog rock territory than on either the preceding album (Benefit of Radim Hladik) or succeeding album (Svet Hledacu). Working in an instrumental prog territory that borders fellow Euro-prog workhorses like SBB or Finch, with perhaps some touches of Yes or Camel here and there, the album mostly consists of a series of traded solos between Radim Hladík on guitar and Oldřich Veselý on keyboards, the duo driving each other to further creative heights.
Report this review (#1592549)
Posted Thursday, July 28, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars Svitanie was the only B.E. recorded in Slovakia and not Czech Republic (although technically still Czechoslovakia) and that determined the lyrics and song names that had to be in Slovakian, a strange rule by the recording company.

Fedor Freso from previously Collegium Musicum appeared in the band for a year or so, resulting in this unique album which features his academic and complex bass playing which has and never be at that level in this band. Keyboard sounds have been updated to include modern sounds such ARP, electric piano while still employing organs. Guitar playing is muscular and forms a tight duo with drums. Placed between fusion and progressive rock, it is also the last album with any jazz influences.

The first composition, "Vysoká Stolička, Dlhý Popol" lets the listeners know that Focus and Finch traces from the previous album are more distant, and now it's YES and Collegium Musicum that come to mind. Organ play has never reminded C.M. until this album - the sequence of chords, the sound and majesty of organ does it. The track is an instrumental workout full of alterations, excitement and highlights on all instruments with great compositional qualities.

"Ej, Padá, Padá Rosenka" is a Moravian folk-based song and became a constant trademark hit of the band, High vocal of Freso is so different from Semelka/Novotny tandem. It is the most accessible track here.

"V Sobotu Popoludní " is firmly rooted in the YES territory. The drummer is excelling here with various odd time signatures but the keyboard and guitar are creative, too.

"Svitanie" is a long, perhaps overly long, final track with a lot of symphonic traces. It contains even a bluesy section.

An awesome album in the league with contemporary Fermata albums.

Report this review (#2286094)
Posted Sunday, December 8, 2019 | Review Permalink
5 stars Now here's a good eclectic prog group not every-one knows about; Blue Effect from Czechoslovakia (during the communist regime) grew from a psychedelic rock band into a brass-rock group (the two Nova Synteza albums) into a full-blown progressive rock group - not unlike a group like SBB from Poland. Soundwise this album reminds a bit of Focus during their 'Hamburger Concerto' phase. I hear Influences from jazz (rock), classical, church music and few, but effective vocals. Some moments remind a bit of Gentle Giant's first three albums. The Finnforest debut also comes to mind as a good reference. By now guitarist Radim Hladík sounds like he could play as well and as fierce as Jan Akkerman on his Les Paul. The keyboards, organs and synths by Oldřich Veselý deserve a volume boost in the mix, but they are very tasteful and effective. The first ten minute instrumental track 'High Chair, Long Ashes' has the band showing its variety in influences and musical prowess. Blue Effect becomes more effective when it comes to songwriting and setting a majestic atmosphere on the second track 'Dew Is Falling, Falling' with beautiful pastoral vocals. The blues guitar of Hladík shines brightly here on a chord progression that could have been written by PFM. Lovers of the ARP string synths are also in for a treat. 'On Saturday Afternoon', the last piece on the first side show the band in an exciting fusion rock mode reminding me of Focus, SBB and Mahavishnu. The second side is reserved for the epic 'Svitanie' or 'Dawning'. This is a particularly interesting mix of styles with slow-pace blues as its backbone, yet it sounds distinctively progressive in its execution. The pastoral opening section reminds me a bit of Focus' 'Eruption', and not only because of the in-fading guitar of Hladík. On this track the bass guitar of Fedor Freso plays a more melodic role. Its quite interesting how this track has a low pace for most of its running time and stays exciting all the same. In conclusion, this is a very strong eclectic prog album and fans of seventies prog should really consider getting a copy of this. Right now there's a new vinyl print on the Opus label that sounds fine.
Report this review (#2594588)
Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2021 | Review Permalink

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