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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Meditace [Aka: Kingdom of Life] album cover
3.24 | 76 ratings | 7 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Paměť Lásky / Kingdom of Life (4:35)
2. Blue Effect Street / White Hair (4:10)
3. Fénix / You'll Stay with Me (4:35)
4. Stroj Na Nic / Brother's Song (2:30)
5. Sluneční Hrob / Sunny Grave (acoustic instrumental) (1:55)
6. Děvčátko / Little Girl (3:55)
7. Osamělá Ulice / Deserted Alley (3:15)
8. Kamenné Blues / Blues About Stone (8:10)
9. Destivý Den / Rainy Day (4:00)
10. Kde Je Má Hvězda / Where Is My Star (3:27)

Total Time 40:32

Bonus tracks on 1994 CD re-issue:
11. Kingdom of Life (4:07)
12. White Hair (English version of Blue Effect Street) (4:25)
13. Klístě (3:30)
14. El Dorado (3:43)
15. Dívko Z Kamene (2:37)
16. Čajovna (4:05)
17. Návstěva U Tety Markéty, Vypití Sálku Čaje (6:03)

Bonus tracks on 1996 Bonton remaster:
11. Sen Není Věčný (3:25)
12. I Like the World (Sun Is So Bright) (3:05)
13. Blue Taxi (2:37)
14. Snakes (2:24)
15. Sluneční Hrob / Sunny Grave (3:24)
16. I've Got My Mojo Working (3:43)
17. White Hair (English version of Blue Effect Street) (4:20)

Line-up / Musicians

- Radim Hladík / lead guitar, sitar
- Vladimír Misík / flute, vocals (2,6-10)
- Jiří Kozel / bass
- Vlado Čech / drums

- Lesek Semelka / vocals (1,3,4)
- Milos Svoboda / guitar (1)
- Jaroslav Kummermann / narrator (1)

Releases information

Atwork: Alan Pajer

LP Supraphon - 1 13 0689 (1970, Czechoslovakia) Stereo
LP Supraphon - 0 13 0689 (1970, Czechoslovakia) Mono, same cover art
LP Supraphon / PZO Artia - 1 13 1023 (1972, Czechoslovakia) Export version entitled "Kingdom Of Life" with different cover art and new English lyrics recorded in 1970 for tracks 1 to 4.

CD Bonton - 11 2604-2 (1994) Entitled "The Story of Blue Effect 1", with 7 bonus tracks
CD Bonton - 71 0382-2/4 (1996) Remastered by Pavel Stverak with 7 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) Meditace [Aka: Kingdom of Life] ratings distribution

(76 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) Meditace [Aka: Kingdom of Life] reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Certainly not just Blues, even I have to agree that there are influences of this genre. After all, this band started like Blues band, doing also some covers of USA Blues bands.

However, Meditace (Meditation) is very mature release. Even still not so Jazz as their later albums, this album shines both in music form and lyrics (mostly philosophical thinking about various aspects of life and death). There is strong Symphonic inspiration, but in Czech style, which means that you can have symphonic melody with trumpets playing + harmonica here and there. It's possibility, because it was simply the way how things were made here. Blue Effect were trying to keep their heads above rising water of "normalization" (bans on bands, oppression on free-thinking and anti-socialistic ideas, such as English names / lyrics).

Meditace hits me emotionally, it's first hand confession about times, when it still was quite good (considering what will came in 70s, so they had to move to Jazz later). Stroj na nic (Machine for nothing) is - you guess - about machine that does nothing, but everyone admires it. I sense ironic double meaning. It's more Rock song, but it has its better Prog moments too, especially it shows how great Czech guitar virtuoso Radim Hladík can play. Even there are other songs/albums where he can do better.

However, some songs are simply unable to abandon blues basis completely and this, from Prog point of view, prevents it from reaching higher ratings. On the other hand, there is plethora of ideas, really original ideas made from both desperation and from need to create. Lineup on this album is full of people who will become either masters of their genres (lyricists, guitarists) or simply very respected musicians.

4(+), trying to be fair.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I honestly believe Blue Effect is one of best (if not the best) Czech band ever. Just listen to their albums from early 70-s! But - this debut album is different (and the year is 1969).

Music here is eclectic mix of blues-rock, guitar rock ballads, early psychedelic and symphonic rock. I listen the "export ?version with English vocals, and it doesn't sound good for me (don't know if Czech vocals in original sounds better). Songs are something very usual for just a band from late 60 -s: obvious Procol Harum influence, some fashionable bluesy rockers, competent but far from excellent musicianship. Better than average tribute band, hardly more.

It is almost miracle, how a year after same Blue Effect will show their highest class on free-jazz-rock fusion collaboration album with Jazz Q Praha! So - to listen one of the best Czech band ever just start from their 1970 album (and some later works all are brilliant). Debut is interesting for heavy band fans and Czech rock collectors mostly.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
3 stars As for the FROMUZ that are a band distant both in space and time from this MODRY EFEKT, I don't know why they are classified as a JR/F band. The recitation and the symphonic elements of the opener are for me closer to the symphonic prog of the Hungarian AFTER CRYING, but it's 1969 and the influence of American psychedelia is evident on "Blue Effect Street" that sounds quite hippy with the instrumental parts reminding GRATEFUL DEAD or BIG BROTHER and THE HOLDING COMPANY, and the choirs like the debut of RENAISSANCE.

However this is a band of very skilled elements. The guitar on this track seems sometimes being "tapped" ten years before this technique was introduced in metal. The song is good enough and I like all the bands that I have mentioned.

"Fenix" has a bit of eclectism more. In few seconds it passes from Blues to Symphonic to Beat. It's very dated to its epoch, but it's absolutely good. I would define it as a "R&B" song because of the brass section and the kind of vocals.

"Stroj na nic" is a blues-rock song with a great guitar behind. Early BLUE OYSTER CULT with R&B brasses...that means something original at these times. And don't forget that they were playing music with American influences from behind the iron curtain just after the repression following the "Prague's spring". Not an easy choice probably.

On "Sluneční hrob" they are on classical influences. It's a short instrumental, like a medieval leid.

Now a blues. In 1969 every band had to play at least one blues piece for album. This is special in the flute solo (I think it was the flute) which has a very acid sound. For the rest it's just a traditional rock-blues. The guitar is clean and jazzy but effectively there's nothing special or particularly prog in this song.

"Deserted Alley" opens acoustic and acid. It's what can be called a psychedelic moment. The melody goes over non-trivial chords and the pauses make me think to MOODY BLUES with a touch of HENDRIX in the guitar solo parts.

The first time I listened to "Blues About Stone" I initially thought to PINK FLOYD's More, but this is just another "standard" slow blues with the bass playing loud enough to supply to the absence of keyboards. A reference can be "Earth and Water Sonf" of the HUMBLE PIE.

Also "Rainy Day" is bluesy, but on the rock side. The vocals are powerful and clean. This song anticipates "Very Heavy Very Humble". There are similarities, but URIAH HEEP came later.

The album is closed by "Where is My Star". It's one of the most progressive songs of the album, again incredibly precursor of URIAH HEEP. The solo in the middle is almost classic blues-rock. However this song contains some hints of the eclectism and experimentalism that this band will apply later.

This debut is one of thier "easiest" albums. Even if I stick on 3 stars please consider that even if non-essential it's GOOD.

Review by GruvanDahlman
3 stars Here's me thinking that ModrY Efekt's first album was a blues record and nothing else. How wrong was I? Well, actually not all wrong. Just not totally right either. There are clear blues influences to be found throughout this album, alongside ballads, hard rock, sunshine pop and, I dare not say it, prog. Actually I find this album to be more of a progressive blues album than prog. There are Jethro Tull-like excursions (circa This was) and a blend of other sounds to be found in 1969. There is little to be blown away by here, I find. It is kind of straight forward blues/rock/pop, albeit skilfully constructed and performed.

The music is rather standardized stuff, although they do tend to stretch the boundaries a bit. The greatness to come is only evident in the musicianship. The music is enjoyable and listenable. It thunders along quite nice but never takes off. I wish they'd sung in their native toungue throughout. As it is now I tend to be more or less annoyed by the english vocals.

The most mindblowing thing about these recordings are the progression they made on the next album, Coniunctio. Going from this, sort of average, blues rock to the all out freakish, freeform jazz is staggering. From then on they never stopped progressing. Never looking back, they stormed onwards and on. Meditace is, in that respect, the beginning of a glorious journey to greatness and genius. I love Modry Efekt and as a result I lime this album for what it represents, more than it's contents. If you are looking for their peak of powers, go for any of their albums between 1974-1981. When you've listened to them, try this one and see their origins and from what humble beginnings they came. That is the marvellous thing about it all. The marvellous thing about Modry Efekt.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Formed in the late 60s in what was the former Czechoslavakia which was very much behind the Iron Curtain and musically speaking a million miles away, yet certain bands not only kept up with the times with underground bootleg albums but also managed to weather the political storms and emerge as one of the most successful bands of the era from Eastern European nations. MODRY EFEKT (in the Czech language) or BLUE EFFECT (but have also gone by M. EFEKT, MODRý EFEKT and THE SPECIAL BLUE EFFECT) formed in Prague (now the Czech Republic) in 1968 and led by vocalist and guitarist Radim Hladík who would remain the constant member in the band's initial two decade plus run. While soon becoming one of Czechoslavakia's major jazz-fusion and progressive rock bands of the ages.

MEDITACE is a fine mix of Czech language 60s type sounding music primarily based in blues rock not unlike early Led Zeppelin but even at this stage they were showing traces of progressive rock as they were recording this in 1969 with many track including the opener "Paměť lásky" showing less influence from blues and rock and more Western classical elements dominating whether it include choral vocal arrangements, symphonic atmospheres or instrumentation. MODRY EFEKT were masters at creating strong catchy pop rock hooks even at this early stage in their development and although there is no progressive touches of the jazz-fusion type, tracks like "Blue Efect Street" show extremely strong ear worms with bluesy guitar workouts and clever arrangements including the use of a sitar. Most of all MODRY EFEKT demonstrate how beautiful rock music can sound in their native Slavic language tongue although side two was recorded in English which proves that the band had their sites on cracking into the international market from the beginning.

While MEDITACE is laced with excellent rock and pop tracks for their time and place, what's really lacking at this point is a sense of cohesiveness for an album style as the tracks flounder back and forth from blues rock to classically symphonic and then to folky with almost Motown type walls of sound and then back to more Western generic sounding blues rock. Overall not a bad debut at all especially for being in a region of the world that controlled every aspect of artistic integrity however it would take the soon to be released second album with their country's other progressive rock giants Jazz Q to steer the band into the more familiar jazz oriented progressive rock that they would stick with for the rest of their days. While i wouldn't call this debut essential by any means, it certainly shouldn't be skipped over either. It is quite the pleasant listen if not polished into perfection.

3.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

2 stars Some of the most memorable and catchy songs by Blue Effect were born on their debut album since this work is still miles away from progressive/artrock and jazz rock. Blue effect added themselves in the "bigbeat" Czechoslovak movement that was particularly strong in and around Praha (Prague). ... (read more)

Report this review (#2286087) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, December 8, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A good record, but definitely not prog. Mostly blues inspired (Blues about stone), some guitardominated rockers (Rainy Day, Where is my star, Deserted alley) tracks with hints of psychedelia (Blue Effect Street), one short filler instrumental (Sluneční hrob), a few ballads (Fénix, Pamě ... (read more)

Report this review (#129297) | Posted by Peto | Thursday, July 19, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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