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The Plastic People of the Universe


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The Plastic People of the Universe Bez ohňů je underground album cover
4.00 | 3 ratings | 2 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Úvod - Ivan Martin Jirous
2. Light My Fire
3. Waiting For The Man
4. Garden Is Open
5. Modrý autobus
6. Podivuhodný mandarin
7. Magické noci

Total time 42:14

Line-up / Musicians

- Michal Jernek / vocals, clarinet
- Jiří ?tevich / guitar
- Pavel Zeman (Eman) / drums
- Josef Janíček / guitar, keyboard, vocals
- Jiří Kabes / guitar, viola, violin
- Jaroslav Vozniak / drums
- René Starhon / drums

introduction words by Ivan "Magor" Jirous

Releases information

CD 425955-0
MC 441727-1

Thanks to clemofnazareth for the addition
and to marty mcfly for the last updates
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THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE Bez ohňů je underground ratings distribution

(3 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(100%)
Good, but non-essential (0%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE Bez ohňů je underground reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars This live album makes it really unclear whether it offers a '73 concert of PPOTU released in '92 or it offers a '92 reunion concert by the '73 line-up. Most likely it is the second option, based on the Czech lengthy intro/speech. Most likely in '73, they wouldn't have wasted some precious concert time, before the State police would inevitably break up their concert and throw a few members in jail. Graced with nude forest '73 shot of the line-up of this album, and a few more in concert shots, including the list of the personnel of the group from 68 until 73 but the presentation is not really that engaging.

Outside the lengthy intro, this albums is made of two more section: a cover section including The Doors' Light My Fire (correct if pointless version), Velvet Underground's Waiting For The Man (just as pointless and of lesser interest, even if VU was PPOTU's major influence) and The Fugs' Garden Is Open, which is actually fairly interesting. Actually the choice of these covers is not innocent either, as they started with cover these late 60's band as a reaction of resistance to the Warsaw Pact invasion, putting an end to the Spring of Prague. Unlike the more progressive Czech and Slovak group that managed tolerance from the authorities because of symphonic or jazz relations in their music, PPOTU were really at the forefront of the artist's resistance against the oppressive regime and met on a few occasion other heroes (even playing at Vaclav Havel's residence) and got every concert of theirs raided, ended up arrested and a few times thrown in jail. Why they were is that they refused to play down the western "English" names and covered some of the more aggressive and decadent groups around, especially Velvet Underground, which irritated the Party.

The second section is the more personal side of PPOTU with three "originals", starting with the Bo Diddley-derived Modry Autobus, and even in their own tracks, they couldn't resist blatant provocation, here speaking of San Fran and the Summer Of Love. The following Podivuhodny Mandarin is much more interesting (poking fun at the other communist power), a good sax solo and it is the highlight of this section and rates even better than The Fug's cover. The closing Magicki Noci is another scorcher, approaching Indian raga at times with their extremely repetititititituititive descending bass riff mixed with an Eastern-sounding violin and clarinet.

As unrepresentative as this album could possibly be (but actually not that much either), this live album is the ideal introduction to the group, because it is slightly more accessible (the covers helping out also) than their usually darker and obscure 70's stuff, but it will give you a correct foretaste.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Thanks to Hugues for being interested in Czech history (and doing a lot of research on this subject), his review tells the situation and conditions of this band well. I wouldn't be able to tell it better.

Album name means "Without fires is underground", it's reference to one joke from Plastics history. Mejla, then something like frontman once asked Jirous what's the different between psychedelic and underground. Jirous thoroughly explained, but Mejla didn't get it at all and understood it like that you have to have fires in performances to be underground. Or at least that's how I remember it, it may be opposite. However, joke remains a joke.

After they split up in 1988, they reunited in 1992 just for this concert and won't reunite until 1997 again). It is more or less lineup from early ages (even not the first one). The words on cover of this album says: "Live December 1992".

Ivan "Loony" Jirous, manager of the band, is talking (in first, introduction track) about how he's glad that it is opportunity to present Plastics to new generation and that he also see a lot of old fans in audience. Then he is mocking band members a little bit (they're used to do that, it is fun after all).

Then we have three cover tracks, Light My Fire sounds very like the original (without characteristic voice, therefore left with crazy/weird (it's Plastic way, sounds like [and mostly are] drunken) vocals of either Kabe? or Jernek. One of them. And of course, one more prominent thing - strong bass line. Because I know original track very well, I can compare - very well performed.

Though I don't know other two songs, they are quite good as well, even though I like Garden Is Open far more.

And then three "original" tracks. The hell Hugues, you are speaking Czech or not ? You seems to understand lyrics quite well, which of course helps in something like that.

Lyrically, they are ironic, extremely dirty (in a very shocking way, even it's very natural and poetical dirtiness). Podivohudný mandarín starts with words: "You will spread your crotch all your life". It's the part of fun here.

From music point of view, there is solid share of Psychedelia, Avant tendencies (very weird type, but I'm of course concerned Czech Prog researcher from - again - Czech Republic), unique Plastic flavour, which even they are doing covers, shines and guides you on the paths of this underground groups of underdogs who simply wanted to make their music in spite of what commies said (and what they did to them, including beating, in total dozens of years behind bars and bans on doing live gigs officially).

4(+), last three tracks are worth of it, first "real" three tracks are decent.

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