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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) - A Benefit of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík] CD (album) cover


Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars The heaviest album from Modry Efekt. Some killer duels between guitar and flute, excellent compositions, long and dynamic. Powerfull rhytmic section in a way that will amaze you. Furious drumming. Almost instrumental, the first band we can recall hearing this work is Jethro Tull, thanks to the heavy guitar ala Martin Barre and the excellent flute work. The keyboards rarely lead the music, but Lesek Semelka did a nice job in creating some interesting sounds and developments. Cavojna is a masterpiece in all way. Essential!
Report this review (#50218)
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Almost fully instrumental, this record includes a reworked number from Nová syntéza 2 (Je třeba obout boty a pak dlouho jít) as Boty and several new ones.

Boty 5 Very much similar to the vocal version on the previous record, also in structure. The former vocal melodies are mostly provided by Hladík´s guitar and there is also some nice flute added (courtesy of Jiří Stivín), making a richer sound. I like Hladík´s solos on here even more than on the previous version.

Čajovna 5 A moody instrumental, which in my book is right up there with Santana´s Samba pa ti or Fleetwood Mac´s Albatross. Hladík creates wonderfully subdued lead guitar melody, augmented by fabulous bass playing again. Lešek Semelka adds ome nice keyboards as well, while Vlado čech´s drumming is also great, with the band acting really cohesive. It is however, the guitar taht commands this epic, dreamy instrumental.

Skládanka 2 A jazzier piece, with fine flute from Jiří Stivín and bass playing from Kustka, who is the star on this number. Great drumming by Vlado čech, as well as nice, subtle keyboards by guest Martin Kratochvíl. Hladík is a bit more in the background on this one, although he plays a somewhat uninspired guitar solo, which is pretty repetitive and too much alike to those on the previous two records. The melody is not that great as well, just average. ovearall a messy hodge-podge with some nice soloing.

Ztráty a nálezy 5 A melancholic piece, with lyrical electric guitar playing. Kustka and Čech are great as always and Semelka plays some nice organ in the background. The melody is carried by the guitar, which is a good thing on this one, Since Hladík is at his most melodic. The song then concludes with themournful opening part.

Hypertenze 4 The longest number. The song strats off with a marvelous hard rock riff and fabulous rhytm section work, over which Hladík plays another one of his lightning fast wah wahed guitar solos. The instrumental part is agreably more jazzy, with a nice piano by Martin Kratochvíl, and even a solo on saxophone.m with some noisy chaotic parts, before the song returns to the opening riff, followed by a more atmospheric part with Semelka adding background vocals and the soong then comes into another noisy fusion phase and abrubtlyy ends.

Overal track evaluation: 5+5+2+5+4=21:5=4 points


Report this review (#129362)
Posted Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars By the time of this album's release Blue Effect was old history and just why this album mentioned Hladic above the rest of the group is a bit of a mystery to me, but the group's history is loaded with band's name changes, so one more or less. Anyway the previous two albums that had meddled free jazz and beat music (the Nova Synteza albums) were also history, and the group now developed a solid jazz-rock mixed with some symphonic moments ala Yes or Crucis, and everyone agrees is ME's best period, even if this was not their most adventurous works. Over the course of the next four albums (including this one), ME will simply astound by the quality of their music only approached by their Slovak friends, Fermatá. Recorded in 73 but only released in 75, the industrial artwork gracing the album is rather Stalinian, but is a good companion to the music.

The album starts wildly enough on a strong 10-min Boty track (which seems to be a rework of one of their Nova Synteza works) that seems to take on both Yes and Finch with a strong duel between Stivin's flute and Hladik's shinning guitar lines. Cajovna is a short mellower track where Hladik takes his guitar on melodic grounds ala Peter Green or Carlos Santana (but not being as singular as either), but ends just as we wished it would before becoming too clichéd. The following Skladanka is more axed towards Semelka's keyboards, Stivin's flute, but the explorative and sometimes funky bass of Kutska make this track his moment of glory on this album.

The flipside is much in the line of the its counterface, with Ztrary A Nalezy starting on acoustic guitar (as well as electric later on) taking us for a short ride before getting back to the acoustic theme as way of an outro. The aptly-titled 12-min+ Hypertenze, partly because of an affect that is to be heard on ELP's BSS track KE9, which this writer's blood to rise above reasonable levels. Otherwise the track is a killer with an excellent electric piano and godd sax solos trading wild licks with Hladic's guitars parts, the middle quiet passage being particularly fertile in erectility, which is not good for the listener's hypertension (didn't you know I wasn't leaving this review without making one of these ;o). Radimwas seen as bit as Clapton was in the late 60's' London scene, and this kind of album would do nothing to dispel the myth.

Two bonus tracks grace this excellent album, and they date from 73 (as the album did), and both are sung, which of course sticks out quite a bit with the instrumental album they are included with. While they don't hurt the album, the two tracks (the second being recorded live) have a harder edge and the very Italian-delivery of the very present vocals; making quite a contrast with the album original tracks. To those needing comparison, these two songs would fit better on Flamengo's sole album than on this one. Nevertheless the quality of these bonuses is good enough to keep the CD reissue album on an essential level.

Report this review (#148287)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Modrý Efekt is one of those bands mailing from behind the Curtain of Iron in the 60s and 70s that happen to be highly praised among progressive and jazz-rock circles. And quite deservedly so. If Fermata was the Slovakian king of progressive rock, Módry Efekt assumed a parallel superior role in the Czech side of the former Czechoslovakia. "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladik" is the name of ME's fifth studio effort, and that's a weird name for an album recorded by a band whose lead guitarist, founder and main writer is precisely Mr. Hladik. Anyway, mysteries aside, let's go for the review of the album itself. 'Boty' is the opening cut that initially states a brief synth-based whirlwind before the main motif settles in with its full power. The emergence of this sort of strength in no way diminishes the installment of a clearly defined melodic dynamics through the guitar leads and the effective keyboard layers. The mood and motif shifts are managed craftily, in full progressive fashion; the flute solo during the spacey interlude is just lovely, establishing a proper contrast against the frantic guitar-dominated passages. Sometimes things get as wild as in your regular LZ or DP album, no kidding! Hladik is a masterful elaborator of the influences he receives from Akkerman, Page and Hendrix at once. There is also a cosmic organ solo wildly oriented toward the higher pitches. After this red hot opening number comes a very different one, the melancholic 'Čajovna', whose framework may remind us of Focus-meets- Finch. 'Skládanka' finds the band turning back to the frenzy side of things, with its powerful mixture of jazz-rock and heavy prog. Once again, the guest flautist shines with his sensibility, although Hladik is the one who naturally gets his instrument more featured, at the end of the day. 'Ztráty a nálezy' starts with a focus on the acoustic guitar, which is soon accompanied by multiple electric guitar ornaments on a very psychedelic note. The main body arrives with the installment of a slow-paced atmosphere, not without its proper dose of energy. The album's official repertoire is closed down by 'Hypertenze': its Mahavishnu-friendly funky birations mingle quite fluidly with the explicitely hard rocking passages. Arguably, here is the most proficient bass work, and perhaps there are also the most accomplished spacey sounds from the synth. The final section is a glorious progressive litany with a notorious charge of neurosis: the explosive sax solo is essential for this sort of mood. There are 2 bonuses in this CD edition: 'Armageddon' is an interesting psych-rock song that might bear some family airs with Trettioariga Kriget, and 'Clara' is an attractive exercise on hard rock with beat nuances. All in all, none of these tracks equals the fantastic majesty of the official tracklist - those 5 tracks alone suffice to label this CD as a genuine prog masterpiece, at least to my ears.
Report this review (#202440)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars This was my first ever contact with this legendary Czech outfit. I have to say I didn´t know about them until a few weeks ago when a friend told me about the group and ask me to research for them. I was quite surprised how well recorded and well done is their musc. The original album seems to be totally instrumental and the style varies from prog rock ( Boty, Čajovna and Ztráty a nálezy, with some Camel influence on the latter two) to pure jazz rock/fusion stravaganza (Sládanka, that could easily be on Frank Zappa´s 70´s stuff) to mix of them both (Hypertenze).

Besides Radim Hladík´s excellent guitar work and the usual keyboards/bass/drums backing, we still have some interesting sax, flute and violin adds. The two bonus tracks are the only ones with vocals on it. The first is Armaggedon, another Frank Zappa influenced piece and Clara, recorded live that shows some real strong Santana overtones (in fact, I wonder if it is not a cover of a lost Santana song).

The musicanship is obviously brilliant. Although jazz rock/fusion is not my cup of tea, it is also not possible to overlook the talent and skill of those guys. I enjoyed the record very much, even if it took some spins to fully appreciate it. A nice surprise. If you like fusion or is prog lover with an open mind, this CD is recommended

Report this review (#219963)
Posted Friday, June 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars So far, I'm the only one from my country to review it. However, there is one guy from Slovakia, so even these guys are mostly Czechs, we were one country in these times. But still, I'm glad that I can review this one. It's also first album I've ever heard, while Čajovna in version from Klobouček is first track heard.

Boty (Boots, or maybe shoes, it's not certain) has wonderful guitar solo in the beginning. If something confirms that this is masterpiece, then it's this track. And then, flute work by Jiří Stivín (he's respected jazz flutist here, even now). After this, they're not dueling, more like working back to back, together to heights of musical craftsmanship. But my personal favourite (due to long time addiction) is Čajovna, or should I say (The Tea Room). Simply killer melody, enigmatic and even better in live performation.

5(+) for one of the best works from my country and also great fusion of jazz and rock.

Report this review (#238580)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As Polish S.B.B. was greatest Eastern European progressive rock band during 70-s, Czech Blue Effect was the same, but in the field of jazz rock. (Yes, on this album, as on some previous and some next as well the name of the band is stated as "Modrý Efekt", because of Socialist government pressure against using of English names for bands - yes, such things were quite usual in Eastern Europe, still controlled by Moscow).

Radim Hladik is excellent guitarist, showing there on this album all his potential. Guest flautist Jiří Stivín bring his Ian Anderson-like flute sound, making the music almost perfect. Still rooted in blues-rock, with influences from symphonic, band represents there his best music ever.

Comparing to Slovak Fermata - their nearest colleagues in place and time, Blue Effect (I will name them in that way, no Moscow pressure anymore) is more acoustic, mostly guitar/flute/ drums based. They are using keyboards, but for some back-up arrangements mostly. As a result, their sound is real guitar jazz-rock. Fermata's music is mostly keyboards based, deeper orchestrated and with big portion of symphonic prog.

But both bands has one thing in common - very melodic music with symphonic elements and quality arrangements. I prefer Blue Effect music as less symphonic, more guitar-rock based, but it is more question of taste. In fact, if you like Fermata, you will like Blue Effect, and v.v.

Recommended to any lover of jazz-rock, instrumental guitar prog and symphonic prog from mid-70-s. One of the best Eastern European release from this field. Really 4,5.

Report this review (#277726)
Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I must admit it was a little confusing when I tried to look MODRY EFEKT up on the site here a couple of years ago, only to find there was no listing for them.The confusion was cleared up when it was revealed that this band was originally called BLUE EFFECT but had to change their name to MODRY EFEKT because the Czech communist government frowned on English names. I'm not sure why Radim Hladik's name is in the title of this album along with the band's name. Radim had been the guitarist for this band from the first album on, but it seems they were giving him prominance here maybe because he is the dominating performer on this record. I do prefer this to their later albums that have vocals on them but I would rate it as my second favourite after their "Coniunctio" record.

"Boty" builds to start then it settles in with drums and guitar being the prominant instruments. A calm 3 minutes in as it turns FLOYD-like but with flute.The guitar starts to solo tastefully. It kicks in before 6 minutes and the guitar starts to light it up. "Cajovna" sounds so good. Very relaxed as the guitar plays beautifully over top. "Skladanka" features outbursts of sound including some aggressive flute. It settles in around a minute.The flute is prominant. It's the guitar's turn 2 1/2 minutes in then the flute takes over again late.

"Ztraty A Nalezy" opens with strummed guitar, flute and what sounds like violin. Guitar and drums kick in after 2 minutes.The earlier theme is back late. "Hypertenze" has a heavy intro. It picks up after 1 1/2 minutes. The drumming is excellent here. Piano then what sounds like sax after 3 minutes. The guitar and sax are trading off. It settles after 5 minutes then starts to build around 8 minutes. It's heavy like the intro before 9 minutes. Vocal melodies arrive a minute later. Sax is back as the vocal melodies continue. Nice.

A very good album where Radim gets to lets loose on his guitar and show off his incredible talent.

Report this review (#300446)
Posted Saturday, September 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dense but carefully constructed instrumental heaviness from the Czech heroes where the riff is king and, except superficially, very little jazz (or "jazz rock" for that matter) can be heard. The loosely sketched self-harmonies of master guitarist Radim Hladik led a crack outfit who made the most of less-than-ideal circumstances, and punch out no bullsh*t guitar rock that moves between inspired chopping and lighter parts featuring Jiri Stivin's flute & Hladik's acoustic.

Insistent 'Boty' sets the large and layered tone, Hladik an original voice who, though perhaps influenced by the likes of Clapton and others, really sets his own pace here, and Blue Effect was influencing Central & Eastern European players as much as they were taking from Western ones. At ten minutes it's satisfying heavy progrock with enough grit to remind you where it came from. 'Skladanka' treats with lots of quirks and contradictions, a crazed blitherer, Radim's post-Hendrix yelps and some mad funky rhythms. Great track, matched by the tone-web of 'Ztraty a Nalezy' and its faint Procol Harum-isms, and they finally breakout the jazz for 12-minute vamp 'Hypertenze'. 'Armageddon' and 'Clara' are two good bonuses on the Sony/Bonton remaster from 2000.

A real performance from one of the best central European rock bands ever-- a reminder that there was prog out there that rocked, and that intricate music could be made without an abundance of synths, effects, masters degrees or compartmentalized recording techniques.

Report this review (#421421)
Posted Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A rather strange album and perhaps the crowning achievement of this band.

It has taken me a long time to get into this album. I have found it incoherent and a bit sparse on the goods. But still............

Others has described this band and album better than me. I am totally new to this band and this album is my first Modry Effect album. It is probably not the last Modry Effect album though.

The music here is based on fusion/jazz. But it also takes of into other areas like space, eclectic, heavy prog, symph and folk at times. Recorded and produced behind the vicious iron curtain and during a very harsh regime who controlled everything, it is obvious that the band had to create and indeed created their own sound and their own universe. That is what this album is compared to other albums as far as I can see. It's own universe. An universe where the guitar is still the king and with some very quirky melody lines.

There is no doubts that this is a truly great album though. The musicianship is outstanding. The melodies are great and full of small details. It takes a lot of time to get into it though because it is it's own universe. But the rewards is there.

I see no reasons to ramble on anylonger. This is one of the best albums emerging from behind the iron curtain. Hence the stars.

4 stars

Report this review (#443198)
Posted Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Of the four albuns from M EFFEKT which figures in my progressive music collection (Modry Effekt & Radim Hladik, Svitannie , Svet Hiedacu and 33 ) this is my opinion that more really fits in jazz-fusion category., even the two bonus tracks including in the Bonus tracks on 2000 CD re-issue: The track 1 "Boty" is one exception, however this track presents some jazz touch, also shows some heavy -prog elements ( the heavy-prog influences appears about to 5 min 40 sec of execution) .and The track 4 Ztráty a nálezy" is anothergreat exception, begins with a theme in KING CRIMSOM music style and follow in a symphonic melody with a great Hladik guitar solo. These two tracks are ( in my opinion) the best moments from the disk . I only lament the small number of reviews for M EFFEKT albuns !!! my rate is 4 stars !!!
Report this review (#545861)
Posted Saturday, October 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars As far as fusion, jazz rock, prog jazz or whatever goes, this is one of my ultimate delights. Alongside Chicago's "II" this is an amazingly solid, enthralling and captivating listening experience. The fact that it hails from behind the Iron curtain makes it eqaully impressing. Now, I know there are alot of excellent music hailing from back there but I am still amazed everytime something as good as this comes my way, like Phoenix' "Cantafabule" or Klan's "Mrowisko".

The opener "Boty" is like a kick in the face with it's great energy and power. In my opinion they could not have opened the album in a better way. Gloriuos! The next track, "Cavojne", is a melancholic little thing, which has that Eastern block feel to it. The sadness seems to cry out for an existence in freedom, void of the communist oppression. Maybe I am reading a bit too much into it, I don't know. After "Cavojne" there are two great tracks leading up to "Hypertenze", my way into the albums as a whole. Man, what a riff! "Hypertenze" is a monolithic, almost Sabbath-heavy track comprised of great soloing inside a jam-like session. The electric piano with it's stabs of slightly overdriven fuzz is excellent, as is everything else on this track.

There is talk of the guitarist being the star of the band but I beg to differ. Surely he is brilliant but it is in connection with the other musicians he really comes to the fore. The bass player is awesome as is the keyboard player and the really good drummer. Jazz and rock blend so well together. The improvisational side of jazz alongside the roughness, directness and attitude of rock makes for something really mindblowing. Sometimes, anyway.

I think that this is THE place to start, if you are at all interested in the music of Modry Efekt. It holds their past and their future in one great album. The jazzrock of yesterday, looking forward to all the more complex stuff of the symphonic era. The album in it self is one of the most powerful and direct jazz rock/prog fusion albums I have ever heard and is recommended to anyone interested in the genre. Vibrant, rough, exciting and inspired are just four words to describe it. Marvellous!

Report this review (#934940)
Posted Monday, March 25, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just as Yes were spending 1974 exploring fusion sounds using their symphonic rock chops as a foundation, Blue Effect were approaching Camel-styled symphonic rock from a fusion direction. This album comes in two editions "A Benefit of Radim Hladik" for the export market, and "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík" for the domestic market in Czechoslovakia, but there's no real difference in the music you get - save that the domestic version has some nice surreal cover art, whereas the international version just looks awfully tacky, with an earnest attempt to make Radim Hladik look like a rock god rather failing.

What you get in either package is some excellent, slightly spacey progressive rock played by skilled jazz fusion artists; it's clear that in either edition Radim Hladik was being pushed as the band leader, but in fact the whole group turns in some excellent performances. For the most part instrumental save for some ethereal wailing here and there, this album didn't just benefit Radim Hladik, but the whole art rock scene.

Report this review (#1586710)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first masterpiece by the band where the compositional but mainly playing abilities by the band flourish. For the fans of dynamic instrumental progressive rock, this is the album by Modry Efekt/Blue Effect to listen to. Guitar is dominating, more than it would be on the consequent albums. You can hear influences by Focus/Finch(especially when it comes to drumming, guitar playing and flute), King Crimson, slightly perhaps Yes. The drummer plays solid albeit not inventive.

"Boty" is an excellent starting track with different sections and versatile guitar playing between progressive rock, rock'n'roll, acoustic guitar. "Cajovna" is the most popular Blue Effect track, very moody and captivating due to its use of layered guitars. "Skládanka" is the most Focus influenced track with flute and vocals strongly reminding the Dutch band, only missing is the organ. "Ztráty a nálezy" features very melodic and symphonic high pitched guitar. "Hypertenze" is the peak of mid-70's Blue Effect instrumental emotions with stormy jam and multitude of styles ranging from jazz-rock to heavy progressive rock. While the track may stretch for a bit too long, it flows nicely. At the vocal end, Focus style comes to the stage again with symphonic end that Focus would use to finish their epic tracks. There is a saxophone solo thrown it, too.

The bonus track are les essential but one of them, Armageddon, is likely a predecessor of "Skládanka" with suiting vocals by the keyboard player. "Clara" has a fantastic bass line that must have been inspired by fusion.

Report this review (#2286093)
Posted Sunday, December 8, 2019 | Review Permalink

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