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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) - 33 CD (album) cover


Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars I only have the LP version of this essential release. The sound is as boxy and dry as one comes to expect from most Soviet Bloc studios, but no doubt about it, even minus a bass- player (although someone has a Moog bass pedal in there, and maybe even a bass guitar - the sound's too muddy to be certain) this is formidable stuff. The sessions sound a little hurried - the fade on track one is crude. But Hladik and Semelka had by now almost perfected their impression of Focus's Akkerman and Van Leer - there is lots of lyrical, synth- driven symphonic wonder as well as vampy passages for Hladik's fireworks on here, which holds together well despite the track lengths - much better, say, than 1977's Svitanie. Czech is not a terribly pretty language when it's sung by a guy who sounds a bit like David Coverdale with tonsilitis, but any adventurous prog fan would be a pillock to miss out on this one.
Report this review (#94844)
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Well BLUE EFFECT certainly didn't go out with a wimper with this their final album released in 1981. The vocals aren't easy on the ears, well with the Czech language and shouting styled vocals i'd say they aren't for the faint of heart but i'm used to them. Instrumentally this is quite treat for the ears with Radim back on guitar and as usual he is outstanding. A fair amount of synths and fantastic drumming rounds out the most prominant sounds.

We get four long tracks beginning with "Triatricet". It starts with an intense and somewhat strange intro before the vocals arrive a minute in but they are brief. Drums and a full sound take over after 1 1/2 minutes. Powerful stuff. Vocals are back around 4 1/2 minutes. It settles back into an instrumental mode before 6 1/2 minutes as tasteful guitar and crisp drums lead. Vocals are back 9 1/2 minutes in then back to the intrumental music a minute later as contrasts continue. "Avignonske Slecny Z Prahy" features relaxed guitar as the synths join in then reserved vocals. It's fuller after a minute. I like this. The guitar sounds amazing after 2 minutes when the vocals stop. They are back though a minute later but not for long as the guitar starts to light it up. It settles back again 4 1/2 minutes in like the intro as themes are repeated.

"Obcasna Panska Jizda" has a powerful intro that is replaced with atmosphere and guitar. A beat joins in. It picks up after 3 minutes then settles with vocals 4 1/2 minutes in. The guitar solo before 7 1/2 minutes is incredible. Vocals are back after 8 1/2 minutes but the guitar continues to impress until 9 1/2 minutes in. "Kohoutek Kamaradstvi Odkapava" opens with the guitar ripping it up right away until we get a calm before a minute along with reserved vocals. It kicks in again after 1 1/2 minutes as the vocals turn more passionate. Vocals stop before 2 1/2 minutes as the guitar solos and drums pound. Nice. It settles 4 1/2 minutes in then kicks back in at 5 minutes and they are killing it. A calm with vocals before 6 1/2 minutes but then it starts to build.

A solid 4 stars and a great way to end the band's legacy.

Report this review (#795608)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars 3.5 really

The final release of this legendary band named simply 33 from 1981 is a nother worthy affair in my opinion. This album has it good moments for sure like the opening track Třiatřicet with strange and intresting in same time guitar parts, Radim Hladík is a excelent guitarist who really knew to offer some outstanding moments. The rest of the three tracks while are good for sure are less captivating then what they offered on previous album. The album has balls, is energic again nice shifting tempo, good synth in combination with the guitar sound, good druming, but in the end the overall atmosphere is not so fascinating htne on Svět Hledačů. So, a fairly decent towards great in places this last offering of this excellent band, after this one they disbanded in 1982 and slowly gone into oblivion until this album and the previous one were releases by Bonton on CD. 3 stars rounded to 3.5 , nice cover art aswell, worthy to be investigated .

Report this review (#846109)
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The final album by Modry Efekt sees the band losing none of their progressive power, something one otherwise might have feared. The engine of Modry Efekt is not running low on gas, rather the opposite.

The compositions on 33 is all of very high quality. Excellent symphonic sounds throughout and a craftmanship that is unbelievable. I find it sort of strange yet magical that a band during a 10- year period were able to not only progress music-wise but doing it with such class and determination. The result is a discography of more or less flawless albums, at least counting from Coniunctio (which may not be my favorite album by Modry Efekt but certainly a great example of freeform jazz).

My favorite track is number 3, Občasn' p'nsk' j'zda, with it's fantastic soundscape. Keyboards, drums and Hladiks guitar makes up for a tremendously evocative, inspired and imaginative landscape of emotion. There is a sadness, still it is joyous aswell, due to det wholeness of the song. The other three tracks are equally great but Občasn' p'nsk' j'zda stands out just a little bit extra for me. The vocals are a bit strained, though not bad, but if you disregard that and focus on the music there is soooooo much to cherish.

Conclusion: 33 is a great way to end a band like Modry Efekt. Maybe they'd felt they reached the end of their progressive powers as a band. Maybe they just needed a break. No matter what the reason was for them disbanding (at least as far as regordings go) they left a legacy of utter brilliance. I cannot stress this enough, just how brilliant they were. Listen, please listen and be amazed.

Report this review (#947591)
Posted Monday, April 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Such an outstanding album.

I fell in love with this album, I really did. It became a matter of my heart after few listens. Enjoyed the power of Blue Effect's debut album Meditace, which was sung by not less famous and respected Czechoslovakian artist Vladimír Misí­k, I also enjoyed Blue Effect's jazzy big band experiments on a record Nová syntéza, but there's something more in their prog-rock side (really not the dark one) of repertoire. I feel something very special there.

The prog era of Blue Effect starts with Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík. This album was apparently inspired by Yes, Camel and Caravan, although it's an instrumental opus (the strict hand of 'normalization' didn't allow these guys to record it with original lyrics). The next one, which is called Svitanie, had one of the most sucessful compositions of whole Blue Effect's career. A song named 'Ej padá, padá rosenka' is still played on every single gig these days. Svět hledačů was unarguably an artistic peak of this band... But then 33 saw the light of the world. Very emotional album, full of natural moods and colorful themes.

It's a pleasure to listen to such a beatiful album like 33. Radim Hladík, Lesek Semelka and Vlado Čech did amazing work, which is obvious after few minutes of the title song 'Třiatřicet' ('Thirty-Three' in English). Semelka's vocal is very expressive and full of emotions. Songs on this album appeal on human soul and go straight to the heart, which is very impressive. My personal favourite composition is 'Avignonské slečny z Prahy'. I absolutely love the poetic lyrics from Pavel Vrba. He is true genius in his work. 'Avignonské slečny z Prahy' has unbelievably melodic chorus, that you can't only listen - you got to sing it along with Lesek Semelka till the end. Very impressive connection between complex prog instrumental parts and straightforward (not only vocal) lines. This is what I call art rock.

Exceptional. Perfect for sleepless nights.

Report this review (#1026385)
Posted Saturday, August 31, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Being in 1981 and still cruising high on the progressive rock scene, this is Blue Effect with their sadly last effort. Playing is very proficient, the atmosphere may be less tight and more nostalgic, also more polished than previously. Nevertheless, compositions are as good as on previous 2 albums. With one keyboardist gone, this album has better balance between guitar and keyboards.

All tracks are at least 7 minutes long and symphonic. The first track is surprisingly aggressive in the beginning with raw guitar and constantly changing drums before keyboards become more prominent. When vocals emerge, the sound is already quite radio-friendly, however keyboard soon throws in good synth licks. The melancholic part afterwards is stunning and contrastful to the previous dynamic part. After that, the kind-of first part comes back with another repetition.

"Avignonské slečny z Prahy" has some Banks keyboard echoes and excellent guitar soloing on otherwise moderately paced song.

"Občasná pánská jízda" has an astonishing start with fantastic keyboard chords sequence. A funk/disco drumming part with Moog soloing while layers of background keyboards are present make all keyboard fans feel happy. Throughout the entire composition, the feeling of breaking up and melancholy remains.

The last track could be a metaphore to the ending existence of Blue Effect with its title "the friendship is coming to its end". It is a calm symphonic track with strong vocals. Extended guitar solo increase the heartbeat before the fantastic main motive is repeated. Noteworthy is absolutely rhythmically complex and wild keyboard/guitar section in the middle.

This is a very decent end of this quintessential progressive rock band (at least in the former Soviet block.)

Report this review (#2286098)
Posted Sunday, December 8, 2019 | Review Permalink

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