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Ota Petrina

Symphonic Prog

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Ota Petrina Super Robot album cover
3.93 | 37 ratings | 8 reviews | 28% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Já nejsem já (I'm Not Me) (10:42)
2. Čas neodeslaných dopisů (Time of Unsent Letters) (4:41)
3. Nebýt tebe (If Not For You) (5:42)
4. Tak zazpívej jí blues (So Sing Her Blues) (3:44)
5. Podivín (Weirdo) (1:54)
6. Computer III. Generace (Computer III. Generation) (4:50)
7. Super Robot (11:34)
8. Karin (5:08)
9. Vnitřní svět tvých jantarových očí (The Inner World of your Amber Eyes) (4:31)

Total Time 53:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Ota Petřina / vocals, guitar, flute, harmonica
- Vladimir Padrůněk / bass
- Jan Neckář / piano, synthesizer (1-7)
- Anatoli Kohout / drums

Releases information

Supraphon Labels (vinyl) 1978
Bronton Music a.s. (CD) 1998
Artwork By - Petr Foltera
Engineer [Zvuková Rezie] - Frantisek Řebíček , Gustav Houdek , Jan Chalupský
Lyrics By - Zdeněk Rytíř
Photography - Alan Pajer
Producer [Umělecká Spolupráce] - Michael Prostějovský
Recording Supervisor [Hudební Rezie] - Jan Hrábek , Jan Spálený
Technician [Technická Spolupráce] - Karel Hodr , Milan Svoboda (2) , Tomás Stern

Thanks to AtomicCrimsonRush for the addition
and to marty mcfly for the last updates
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OTA PETRINA Super Robot ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(28%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

OTA PETRINA Super Robot reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
5 stars When Ota Petřina, whose career so far was about writing pop songs for other artists (usual thing in 70's Czechoslovakia), picked Art Rock path, everyone who knew the situation was quite surprised. I like to thing about Mr. Petřina as something like Czech José Cid.

However, there is one big difference. I of course feel this album (and music) differently than for example someone from States. There is strong Czech flavor in this music, taste of melancholic 70s (that in this country were era where you wouldn't like to live at all). Sadness, done in gentle way.

Já nejsem já (I'm not myself) softly spokes the story (mostly in instrumental way) about longing for feeling better again, but it's uncertain (even with glimpses of hope). There is subtle chord process through this track that helps establish the atmosphere.

Album uses a lot of synths to describe various elements, like sound effects or background soundscapes.

For example.

Super-Robot, title track continues more or less as counterweight to the first track. Story revolves around then sinister threat of modernization (use of automatic, kinda thinking machines - Robots, in factories and thinking humanoid robots in sci-fi stories).

If you want to know how Czech Art Rock sounds, "Super Robot" is a choice for you. Unfortunately, I'm not sure how available it is outside Czech Republic. But most of all, this album is about sad things done beautifully. In general, topics in lyrics of this album are sad things (Lonely man, Life crisis, Bad mood etc). Czech Prog was heavier, Czech Prog was far more dark, more jazzy, but it got only little bit more beautiful, if it got at all.

5(-), album which I hope stands the test of time. It's strange to think about this album as something that can be compared to better foreign releases. It's quite satisfying to know that our little nation, outside of main musical events was able to produce records like this one.

CULTURAL NOTE: 1978 in Czechoslovakia = roughly 1974/5 in Western world (that a lot of you are used to consider as main rule, including me). But culture life was shifted back then, so this is why I feel this information so important)

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
4 stars "Super Robot" is a super debut from Czechoslovakian Virtuosos

"Super Robot" is the debut 1978 album of Czech art rock band Ota Petřina and an absolute aural delight; from the moment the harmonica chimes out I was hooked. The incredible acoustic flourishes and effervescent spacey guitar begins to dominate with sublime sustained keyboard pads layered underneath. The opening track, 'Já nejsem já (I'm Not Me)' is excellent symphonic prog, approached with an original flair from the virtuoso musicianship of Ota Petřina's incredible guitar work, Vladimir Padrůněk's basslines, Jan Neckář's keyboard skills and Anatoli Kohout's drumming. One of the most outstanding components of the group is their inbuilt talent of allowing musicians to breathe with solos and often instruments are not played almost in respect to other musicians to flourish when the mood is right. This is not just an instrumental group, and Petřina's vocals begin after 5 minutes of blissful music. His voice is akin to the type heard on a lot of RPI, clean, not falsetto, not deep, but middle of the range and very easy to listen to. I have to admit the guitars on this are phenomenal and this is a highlight for all the reasons mentioned.

The next track, 'Čas neodeslaných dopisů (Time of Unsent Letters), begins immediately with clanging guitars and Petřina's accompanying vocals that I have already become accustomed to. I have no idea of the content as it is all in Czech, but it is a beautiful language and, in a similar way to Italian prog, I am not detracted from this. The verses continue and I am reminded of Pink Floyd at times, with the haunting guitar swoops and dives.

'Nebýt tebe (If Not For You)' has a distinct bluesy feel, the bass is strong and definite on this, and those ever present guitar licks are very pleasant. The vocal performance is one of feeling and soul, and I begin to wish more and more I could understand such passionate lyrics. At 2:05 a sensational lead solo with antagonistic shrieks and huge bends cranks out, one of the best on the album, almost in a style like Steve Hackett but distinctly original. Then it settles with a powerful descending bass line, bringing a melancholy atmosphere back. Petřina 's voice builds up to more emotionally charged anger and painful outbursts, obviously crying out to his loved one, he even cries out at the end from his soul. I like the way he doesn't really care about how off tune he may sound, the real treat is the whole attitude and emotion in the performance.

'Tak zazpívej jí blues (So Sing Her Blues)' features an acoustic intro with more deep bass that keeps a constant rhythm, the lead riffs remind me of Wishbone Ash for some reason here. The vocals are once again overwhelmingly replete with a heartrending emotional thrust. It is not as bluesy as previous track and the way the time sig changes is admirable.

'Podivín (Weirdo)' is a short transitional track reminiscent of the short Steve Hackett moments in the early Genesis years. It is primarily acoustic on acoustic with slides and picking. Quite lovely, and featuring a burst of vocals to compliment the music and I heard the word "grammaphone" on this too.

'Computer III. Generace (Computer III. Generation)' has a heavy low guitar riff and is reminiscent of early Black Sabbath. It is a captivating track amongst all the symph of previous and I love the pulsating heaviness, Wishbone Ash guitar styles merged with echo twangs on guitar and those vocals are full of Hammillist conviction. This is my favourite track on the album, it absolutely rocks. The instrumental break is innovative, three guitars layered and a very dreamy guitar solo that develops into a cutting edge blues motif, and sparkling twin guitar playing similar to Bachman Turner Overdrive or Wishbone Ash again. The resemblance to these bands is striking yet it feels so refreshingly original. The structure is organic and lucid, flowing easily into one section after another. I was mesmirised by this.

The last track is a mini epic clocking in at 11:34, the title track 'Super Robot'. I hoped for something that would blow me away after all the excellent previous tracks. It did not do that but it was still an absorbing experience. It begins quite moderately with strong verses and guitar motifs. I noticed the keyboards were absent for much of the last tracks, and now they return with some well executed harmonies, which was a nice enhancement. Once again it is noteworthy to say the vocals are imperfect, Petrina wavers and quivers off key at times, but they somehow work well with this type of music. The music becomes like a 'Musical Box' Genesis tribute at 2:37, a very lulling sound, with spellbinding guitar work, and Petřina even speaks some lines. At 3:45 a magnetic lead break ensues bringing the mood up considerably. The same melody continues and this is more like Genesis at this point than anything I can think of. When he sings "Super Robot" he trills the 'R' sound, and we are reminded of the uniqueness of the language which many may mistake for pure Russian. At 5:58 a massive blast of frenetic percussion kicks in and there is a lengthy passage of spacey synthesizer and loud twanging guitars. This part is amazing. It stops at 6:30ish and a new riff is played with some strange spoken vocals that are phased out, almost like an announcement. The melody returns on acoustic with soothing orchestrated mellotron sounds. There is a calming passage with restful harmonics and an ominous pad of synth. Very loud vocals follow with Petrina's voice mixed to the forefront of the sound. He is even more wavering, unable or unwilling to hold the note, and it is this type of forceful style that makes this compelling. I am not a fan of the next section with the overabundance of "ya ya ya ya ya ya" and it goes on for quite a while. However it is hypnotic and I am able to hook into that off beat guitar lick. The music fades to a stream of water effect but the vocals are consistent and the album is drawing to a close. It ends abruptly and a wonderful album has caressed my ears.

Astounding at times, dynamic instrumentation, and imperfect certainly, but some of the most vibrantly compelling music I have had the pleasure to hear. 4 shining stars.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Terrible name for an excellent album

1978 in Czechoslovakia, the Soviet domination of Eastern Europe is close to it's ending, but still the pressure over "politically incorrect" music like Rock can be felt, even when breezes of freedom can be felt, the Prague Spring of 1968 is in the memory of people, so this was not the most healthy environment for Prog bands like OTA PRYTINA, but the multi- instrumentalist and his band took the risk and created very advanced music for a country that was musically some years behind the rest of Europe, and they succeeded.

"Super Robot" is released in 1978 and while the iconic bands of UK and USA insist in the old formula of Symphonic Prog that approached them more and more to the end of the first Golden era, OTA PETRINA creates a beautiful blend between Symphonic and their native music, but with a delicacy not common in Prog Folk bands that have a more direct approach, here we listen only echoes of Czech music softly melted into pristine Symphonic.

This blend of Symphonic and Eastern Europe music will be more popular in the 90's, but in the 70's, OTA PETRINA were among the pioneers, so when learned about this band by some samples, asked my local CD's dealer for them, I don't know how (neither will ask), but he had an original copy of "Pečet", on stock and got me a copy of "Super Robot" in less than three days, an album which I will try to review.

As Marty writes in a previous review "Já Nejsem Já" opens the album with a nostalgic mood, probably due to the situation in the country, the bluesy introduction is simply delightful and leads to a "Floydesque" passage that breaks the heart, and from them the song flows gently in an almost Space Rock style. Even when the performance of the band is spectacular, the vocals impressed me a lot, I don't understand a word of Czech, but the energy and anger in the voice tells me enough. Fantastic song.

"Cas Neodeslaných Dopisu" changes the mood from Spacey to melodic and emotional Symphonic with touches of late Psychedelia and Czech ethnic music, the combination is extremely beautiful, and unlike most Prog bands, OTA PETRINA bases the music in the guitar performance of the leader, again the band hits the nail in the head.

"Nebýt Tebe" stats very bluesy again, and the voice of "Petrina" is just perfect for this style, if it wasn't for the language that sounds as Sanskrit to me, I could swear I'm before a New Orleans band, even the guitar solo is perfect for the general atmosphere of the song, not Prog but equally brilliant.

Contrary to what it's name implies, "Tak Zazpívej Jí Blues" (To sing her Blues) is more oriented towards Progressive Rock, but the beauty of the song is in the contrast between the Symphonic Synth and the Blues based guitar, but now the dramatic vocals transport us completely to a Progressive Rock world, with echoes of PINK FLOYD, CAMEL and in general to all the spirit of the 70's.with soft changes and interesting arrangements, the album keeps getting better.

"Podivin" starts with an acoustic guitar reminiscent of Steve Howe, but this time they move towards a Folk atmosphere, being so short, works as an interlude for "Computer III, Generace", a much harder song than everything they played before and changes for the first time the mood of the album, very nice progression from the soft and acoustic interlude to the electric and aggressive song.

The original version of the album ends with "Super Robot", and again I feel the PINK FLOYD influence, being that this track reminds me immensely of "Money", with a bass and drums work very similar to the FLOYD track, not totally original but still very good.

This version of "Super Robot" (Again, what a terrible name for such a soft and nostalgic album) has two bonus tracks, but as usual I will write about the album as the artist released it originally, so even when "Karin" and "Vnitrng Svet Tvých Jantarových Ocí" are as good as the rest of their material, I won't include them in my review.

Now, even when I like "Pečet" more and consider it as more Symphonic, rating "Super Robot" with less than 4 stars would be unfair.

Highly recommended.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars I heard about this artist and album through my PA colleague and good friend Marty Mcfly. I should say I´m not an eastern europe speciallist in any way. In fact, I´m still beginning in this field. And other than some obvious groups (like Tako and Omega), I rarely heard anything from that part fo the continent. Ota Petrina is a solo performer from Czech Republic and I heard he used to write pop songs for other acts. Super Robot however is much more progressive and has no pop tendencies at all.

I found the album to be very good, with a extremely fine production for the time and place (some remastering here? I don´t know. But the sound is excellent). I really don´t know the political and social implications of this kind of artist and style in Czxechoslovaquia at the time, but living in a country that was still under a military dictatorship in 1978, I can feel some similarities in terms of feeling and mood. Musicly speaking, Super Robot sounds to me like a mix of blues rock, psychedelic and krautrock (specially the vocals) mixed with heavy doses of folk. The guy is obviously a fine slide guitar player.

Although I can hardly say this is symphonic rock, it is still an excellent work. And if you like the aforementioned styles then you should not miss this one. There is no fillers and the album is quite varied and interesting from start to finish (including the two bonus tracks). It is a mostly guitar led album, of course, but there are also some fine keyboards works too in the background (including nice subtle orchestrations). It took me several spins to get used to the vocals (yes, I´m very demanding in that department). but he is not a bad singer. Just different. The musicanship of all involved and Petrina´s songwriting is excellent.

Rating: hard to rate. Personally I´d give this album 3,5 stars (very good overall, but not my favorite type of music) but I´ll round up to four, since I´m taking in consideration the cultural and social importance of this artist and his hard work in a difficult enviroment (to say the least!). Besides, compared to much of the work produced by other bands in 1978, Super Robot is brilliantt!

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ota Petrina is a Czech lyricist,composer,musician and singer.He was born in Male Zernoseky in 1949 and his early music years found him as a guitarist for the group The Golden Kids.Around mid-70's Petrina wrote material for Czech female singer Petra Janu and worked also with C & K Vocal and singer Lubosem Pospisilem.But Petrina's feet were both rooted strongly in the progressive rock field,so in 1978 he released his debut solo album ''Super Robot'' on Supraphon,helped by Vladimir Padrunek on bass,Jan Neckar on keys and Anatoli Kohout on drums.

The 11-min. starter ''Já nejsem já'' is quite an eclectic mix of Space Rock,Psychedelic and Progressive rock.Starts off as a spacey PINK FLOYD-number with harmonica and synths to offer shortly gentle GENESIS-inspired guitar tunes with touches of mellotron till the very end.''Čas neodeslanĂ˝ch dopisu'' follows the same path,orchestrated soft rock with a slow- tempo and expressive vocals.''NebĂ˝t tebe'' is a different story,a standard Blues Rock ballad with no surprises,while ''Tak zazpĂ­vej jĂ­ blues'' is more psych/space-oriented soft rock with good guitar work but again with the familiar singer/songwriter style.The short ''PodivĂ­n'' is like stolen from an early GENESIS album,pastoral Acoustic Music with short orchestration and gentle vocals.''Computer III. Generace'' is more on the heavy side of rock with blues influences and a spacey feeling overall.''Super-Robot'' has a strong space/symphonic vibe with excellent HACKETT-ish hints on guitars and lovely synths,the middle-section with the acoustic guitars and flutes is similar to ''Trespass''-era GENESIS,while the following notes recalls bands like SHYLOCK or PULSAR with heavy spacey content.Definitely a brilliant composition.

The talent of this musician is undenieable,''Super Robot'' is the proof for this fact,as the album is a nice journey into Prog,Psych,Space and Blues rock.However this work lacks in really memorable or stunning material,while the absence of these characteristics (exception the vocals) that make all these East-European bands unique is a negative point too.Nevertheless this obscurity deserves some more attention and I recommended this album for lovers of eclectic blendings.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Ota Petrina is a singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist from the Czech Republic. He released two solo albums and this is his first from 1978. The term Art Rock gets thrown around alot when it comes to his music and for me there is a PINK FLOYD vibe that often pops up. The music itself is melancholic and the vocals are in his native language.

"I'm Not Me" is the opener and yes i'm going to use the English titles provided on this site. So much easier. Harmonica to start as a nice heavy but relaxed sound takes over. It turns lighter with acoustic guitar and synths. Vocals after 5 minutes. It kicks back in at 7 1/2 minutes. "Time Of Unsent Letters" is again slower paced with vocals. Kind of spacey too. "If Not For You" has a relaxed beat with vocals as a brief guitar solo checks in after 2 minutes. It's more intense late but i'm not a fan of this one. "So Sing Her Blues" builds in a manner I really like then the vocals join in as it settles. I like the repeated guitar line. This is melancholic as usual.

"Weirdo" is a short acoustic guitar piece with vocals after a minute. "Computer III- Generation" has some cool sounding guitar early and later on. "Super-Robot" is the 11 1/2 minute closer. Strummed guitar as the vocals join in. It turns more delicate before 3 minutes. More of an aggressive vibe 6 minutes in and it all sounds so good a minute later. A calm before 8 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in at 9 minutes. Melancholic vocal melodies end it.

I thought this was a good album but it's not a 4 star record in my world. Certainly worth checking out though.

Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars I have had an obsession, sort of, since my teens and that is the fascination for space and space travel in the old Eastern block. Ever since I saw the movie Solaris (1972) in the grip of teenage pompousness, I have been hooked. Sci-fi seems to have grown as strong, if not stronger, over there as in the rest of the World. Pink Floyd had their space-groove going on, Hawkwind as well. And that's all fine but the music of Eastern Europe was booming, at least it would seem so. One of THE premier albums with a sci-fi theme is Solaris Marsbeli kronikak, which is a beautiful album revolving around a sci-fi theme and spacey prog. Others may be Niemens Ode to Venus or the polish Exodus output. One of the great albums in this genre is Ota Petrinas Super Robot.

The music on Super Robot is quite gentle and spacious. I get the feel of floating, only occasionally but in an extremely tasteful way, being awaken by sudden outbursts of hard rock(ish) elements. The music resembles the night time sky, really. Imagine looking up at the sky at night when the stars are out and the moon is hidden. Super Robot is the perfect companion to such an event.

The songs are all gentle but there are exceptions, like "Computer III" which is a very forceful, monotonous (in a good way) track which breaks off the tapestry in a really cool way. The best track, for me, is the title track though. Just the title, "Super Robot", says it all. I do not understand anything of the lyrics except for Super and Robot but I can make up fantasies about the lyrical content, envisioning the intro to Bladerunner and the future for mankind as it is, however gloomy, portayed in future visions of the world. The track holds great keyboards, vocals and spacy guitar. It all blends together nicely, creating a tapestry of spacious, emotive soundscapes. I'll tell you, it is majestic and soothing in a marvellous way.

Comparisons can be made to David Gilmours guitar playing and some elements of Floyd but the album retains it's own identity and purpose. Petrinas vocals are frail, sometimes bordering on breaking up. It is, however, not a problem. His voice is, rather, a nice complement to the soft and gentle music. Worth mentioning, the flute which sometimes soar through the music brings almost a medieval touch to the whole thing. That makes the album span over decades, centuries almost, but Always heading for the future with it's sci-fi robots and travels through dimensions.

Czechoslovakia is the country which, besides Poland, seems to have had the most flourishing prog scene of the Eastern block. They can boast, for instance, such a tremendous band as Modry Efekt (or Blue Effect), who were able to produce in a Life span of only 10 years, or there about, a string of ever progressing and flawless albums. Ota Petrinas remaining output, which seems to be rather manageable to get acquainted with, I cannot say much about. The album Super Robot, however, has become a favorite of mine and one I do come back to ever so often. If you're into spacious prog with sci-fi themes, I'd recommend this one to you. A great little album, well Worth discovering.

Latest members reviews

5 stars VERY RARE PEARL ON THE BOTTOM OF BACKWATER OF LATE 70´S! "Super robot" was maybe my first touch of art rock in my age about 10. Along about that time I was listening hard rock or glam rock bands like Sabbath, Slade, Sweet, Nazareth, Kiss etc. But, as I remember, Petřina´s music totally ch ... (read more)

Report this review (#283755) | Posted by Gandalff | Thursday, May 27, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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