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BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT)

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Czech Republic


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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) picture
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) biography
Founded in Czechoslovakia in 1968 - Disbanded in 1990 - Reformed from 2004 to 2016

Lead by ace guitarist Radim Hladík, BLUE EFFECT were one of the major progressive bands in Czechoslovakia; they were to their own country what OMEGA were to Hungary, or SBB to Poland. They started out in 1968 with a couple of early R&B-oriented albums. However, the Czech governement strongly disapproved of English names at the time, so the band switched to MODRÝ EFEKT and later to simply M.EFEKT. After these two albums, their material veered towards jazz rock and by the early 80's, following sereval personnel changes, their music had become a little less prog, more accessible. They released their last album in 1981 and then quietly disappeared.

Of particular interest to prog fans are three albums: "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík" (1975) which features an energetic mix of YES-like symphonic rock with some fusion; the overall effect will likely remind you of FINCH or CRUCIS. Emphasizing Hladik's brilliant soloing, this was the album that established him as "the" Czech guitarist par excellence. However, it is "Svitanie" (1977) that is considered the band's true masterpiece. With its sinewy bass lines and bold keyboard/guitar melodies, it is still quite YES-influenced but it also has a definite Czech flavour that makes it unique. Finally, there is the bolder, more complex and not so YES-like album titled "Svet Hledacu - World of Searchers" (1979); this one is characterized by many sudden tempo shifts and emphasizes the flux between the spacey synths and Hladik's biting guitars. Except for this album, whose 5 official tracks are all sung, the band's répertoire is mostly instrumental.

Primarily recommended to fusion lovers but YES fans will also likely find something to sink their teeth into.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) discography


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BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.24 | 71 ratings
Meditace [Aka: Kingdom of Life]
1970
3.63 | 71 ratings
The Blue Effect & The Jazz Q Prague: Coniunctio
1970
3.37 | 73 ratings
Nová Syntéza [Aka: New Synthesis]
1971
3.68 | 67 ratings
Nová Syntéza 2 [Aka: New Synthesis 2]
1974
4.28 | 165 ratings
A Benefit of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík]
1974
4.33 | 164 ratings
Svitanie
1977
4.31 | 139 ratings
Svět Hledačů
1979
4.10 | 99 ratings
33
1981

BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 9 ratings
Blue Effect & Hosté - Live
2008

BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.67 | 6 ratings
Live And Life
2008
4.20 | 5 ratings
Acoustic/Time
2011

BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 7 ratings
Beatová Síň Slávy
2004
4.75 | 27 ratings
1969-1989
2009

BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.20 | 5 ratings
Snakes (Edice Mikrofóra)
1969
3.19 | 8 ratings
Slunečný hrob
1969
3.75 | 8 ratings
Nězná / Záhada jmelí
1983

BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Svitanie by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.33 | 164 ratings

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Svitanie
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Now here's a good eclectic prog group not every-one knows about; Blue Effect from Czechoslovakia (during the communist regime) grew from a psychedelic rock band into a brass-rock group (the two Nova Synteza albums) into a full-blown progressive rock group - not unlike a group like SBB from Poland. Soundwise this album reminds a bit of Focus during their 'Hamburger Concerto' phase. I hear Influences from jazz (rock), classical, church music and few, but effective vocals. Some moments remind a bit of Gentle Giant's first three albums. The Finnforest debut also comes to mind as a good reference. By now guitarist Radim Hladík sounds like he could play as well and as fierce as Jan Akkerman on his Les Paul. The keyboards, organs and synths by Oldřich Veselý deserve a volume boost in the mix, but they are very tasteful and effective. The first ten minute instrumental track 'High Chair, Long Ashes' has the band showing its variety in influences and musical prowess. Blue Effect becomes more effective when it comes to songwriting and setting a majestic atmosphere on the second track 'Dew Is Falling, Falling' with beautiful pastoral vocals. The blues guitar of Hladík shines brightly here on a chord progression that could have been written by PFM. Lovers of the ARP string synths are also in for a treat. 'On Saturday Afternoon', the last piece on the first side show the band in an exciting fusion rock mode reminding me of Focus, SBB and Mahavishnu. The second side is reserved for the epic 'Svitanie' or 'Dawning'. This is a particularly interesting mix of styles with slow-pace blues as its backbone, yet it sounds distinctively progressive in its execution. The pastoral opening section reminds me a bit of Focus' 'Eruption', and not only because of the in-fading guitar of Hladík. On this track the bass guitar of Fedor Freso plays a more melodic role. Its quite interesting how this track has a low pace for most of its running time and stays exciting all the same. In conclusion, this is a very strong eclectic prog album and fans of seventies prog should really consider getting a copy of this. Right now there's a new vinyl print on the Opus label that sounds fine.
 Nová Syntéza [Aka: New Synthesis] by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.37 | 73 ratings

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Nová Syntéza [Aka: New Synthesis]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An obscure, yet well recorded album from 1971, from behind the Iron Curtain, full of fierce jazz rock with an orchestra of copper instruments to back it up. Who wouldn't enjoy that? As it turns out; the fans of Blue Effect (Modry Efect) that prefer the string of eclectic prog masterpieces the band would launch in 1974. I think this album (and its follow-up) deserve to be seen in their own light though. Blue Effect and the Czechoslovak Radio Jazz Orchestra offer an instrumental brass-rock record with some touches of heavy psych, blues rock, progressive, soundtrack music, jazz-rock and bit a of swing. The whole recording is rather loud & intense and sounds like it was recorded live in the studio. Guitar player Radim Hlad'k is already showing great promise in a Jan Akkerman style of Les Paul guitar playing. The first four tracks sound pretty much like composed and arranged pieces, whereas the album ends with jam-band vibe tracks. The music reminds me of the instrumental parts of The Chicago Transit Authority, Colosseum and perhaps a bit of Uriah Heep's Salisbury album. Other reviewers would suggest that the albums lacks moments that are memorable and I would agree, but what remains is a very energetic, unique and ambitious progressive rock project from (what is nowadays) The Czech Republic. Recently there's a re-print of remastered vinyls (combining Nova Syntheza 1 & 2) on a double vinyl on the Supraphon label and I can warmly recommend this release. As these vinyls of Blue Effect are hard to attain, we can only hope for more re-releases in the future (right now the excellent 'Svitani' album is also available).
 33 by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.10 | 99 ratings

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33
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

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.)

 Svět Hledačů by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.31 | 139 ratings

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Svět Hledačů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Blue Effect reached their compositional and instrumental peak and the artistic symbiose on this masterpiece of progressive rock. In support of a missing bass player, there are two talented keyboard players who create a multi-layer sound with a multitude of keyboards. The guitar being edgy, acoustic, mellow and symphonic, Radim was a man of several guitar faces. Vocals are provided by the two keyboard players and sometimes indistinguishable.

King Crimson and Yes come to the mind, however B.E. were already since long time having their own sound. Best moments are when all instruments play. There are no self-indulgent moments, everything including soloing has its place. No other album, apart from 33, is so well balanced with layers, soloing and "improvisation".

The first track may be the most representative one on the album with mature mood set. "Hledám své vlastní já" is a keyboard-based ballad-style piece.

"Rajky" is an incredible track with astounding complexity, sequence of chords and continuing development. What a symphony of keyboards and progressive guitar! Some King Crimson inspired moments appear here. Anxious vocals only kick in after the first 3 minutes. Guitar exhibition later is mesmerizing. Drums have a special place in the mix and add more colours.

The next track, "Zmoudření babím létem", has a great dark symphonic motive before calming down into a mellow electric piano and synth territory, then comes an organ a la early Banks and a mid-70's disco beat with complex fill-ins, however the guitar storm and another drummer pattern are pulled out to astonish the listener even more. Another excellent number.

The last triumphant track is another ouverture of surprising chord sequences and instrumental layers although less dynamic than on the previous two tracks. We are graced by a drum/guitar experimental solo before changing to a keyboard led symphonic section with the known motive.

A very high quality album, indeed and excellent one to start with for this band.

 Svitanie by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.33 | 164 ratings

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Svitanie
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Svitanie was the only B.E. recorded in Slovakia and not Czech Republic (although technically still Czechoslovakia) and that determined the lyrics and song names that had to be in Slovakian, a strange rule by the recording company.

Fedor Freso from previously Collegium Musicum appeared in the band for a year or so, resulting in this unique album which features his academic and complex bass playing which has and never be at that level in this band. Keyboard sounds have been updated to include modern sounds such ARP, electric piano while still employing organs. Guitar playing is muscular and forms a tight duo with drums. Placed between fusion and progressive rock, it is also the last album with any jazz influences.

The first composition, "Vysoká Stolička, Dlhý Popol" lets the listeners know that Focus and Finch traces from the previous album are more distant, and now it's YES and Collegium Musicum that come to mind. Organ play has never reminded C.M. until this album - the sequence of chords, the sound and majesty of organ does it. The track is an instrumental workout full of alterations, excitement and highlights on all instruments with great compositional qualities.

"Ej, Padá, Padá Rosenka" is a Moravian folk-based song and became a constant trademark hit of the band, High vocal of Freso is so different from Semelka/Novotny tandem. It is the most accessible track here.

"V Sobotu Popoludní " is firmly rooted in the YES territory. The drummer is excelling here with various odd time signatures but the keyboard and guitar are creative, too.

"Svitanie" is a long, perhaps overly long, final track with a lot of symphonic traces. It contains even a bluesy section.

An awesome album in the league with contemporary Fermata albums.

 A Benefit of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík] by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.28 | 165 ratings

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A Benefit of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

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.

 Nová Syntéza 2 [Aka: New Synthesis 2] by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.68 | 67 ratings

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Nová Syntéza 2 [Aka: New Synthesis 2]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Coming even closer to the golden era and their progresive rock trademark sound, this is the first album that is recommended to any progressive rock listener. Echoes of jazz-rock are still present, unique colourful vocals, some more exotic keyboards like harpsichord and good composiions are the selling points of this album. The title track has them all in one, in its 22 minuts.

The second track with the philosophical name has nice harmony vocals and typical melody hooks that would reappear in next albums. There is a nice dynamic instrumental section with guitar, trumpets, hoboes and percussions and even a sinister organ solo in the end that is really impressive at the verge of updating their sound.

The third track is a light and reflective number whereas the last track alternates between pop-jazz first part with vocals and wild guitar led instrumental jazz-rock trip separated by mellow guitar and piano.

A good album but much better is to come :-) 3.5 stars

 Nová Syntéza [Aka: New Synthesis] by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.37 | 73 ratings

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Nová Syntéza [Aka: New Synthesis]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars Maintaining orchestral ambitions, or more big band?, the band develops the sound to be more melodic and steers away from avantgarde, the instruments are more in accordance and there are actually memorable tracks. Already the first one "Ma hra" has a great inspiring motive with every instrument well thought out and no chaos leaving behind. Listen to more prominent rock instruments and double guitar in the second half of the composition with devilish guitar solo a la fusion McLaughlin. Jazz-rock tendencies continue on the second track.

"Popinavy brectan" is quite close to the American jazz-rock scene even throwing in some blues guitar and funk elements. Jazzy guitar and chords are delicious. The last track tries combining blues and jazz-rock and shows unique position of Hladik sounding like a jazz guitarist. The title track being in the end allows instruments like piano and organ to enter and is the most adventureos track with violin, soft and hard-rocking moments. The electric guitar high-pitched here.

I find this album better than the previous one because of improved compsoitions and presence of direction.

However, the sounds is still quite a few steps away from the classic Blue Effect sound.

 1969-1989 by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2009
4.75 | 27 ratings

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1969-1989
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars There are enough reviews for studio albums so I will only cover the bonus tracks here.

This album, the 9th album in the album collection, consists of 4 logical parts: 1.) Rock and blues-rock tracks sung in Czech and English from the end of 60's. 2.) Pop-leaning sung tracks from the 70's. 3.) A couple of 80's tracks highly supported by keyboards and electronic drums. 4.) 3 live tracks.

I like the second and fourth part most.

The first six tracks are catchy, infectious and inspired by British psychedelia, mersey-beat but also blues-rock, a nice testament of that period in Czechoslovakia.

The 70's tracks have a distinct emotional and competent vocals by Oldrich Novotny. Another element is the rising power of synthesizers. On some tracks, like "Nezna", they nicely create atmosphere, not unlike on Banks' compositions. "El Dorado" is the most commercial of the tracks. Hladik shows that even in the pop-rock outfit, he can showcase his guitar playing abilities.

The 80's tracks are less developed and distinctive only thanks to electronic drums and keyboards, they don't bring much artistic quality, though with an exception of quality guitar. The re-edition of "Cajovna" sounds mechanical and therefore even more sorrowful than usual.

For the progheads, the emotional climax arrives in the end on the two last live tracks that were never release on regular studio albums. The guitar-bass storm by Freso and Hladik create a perfectly dramatic composition with the support of organ and solo guitar. "Prosim" is an excellent testimony of late 70's band abilities with a missing bass player and two keyboardists, a.ka. 1979. A bit reminiscent of SBB. The tight keyboard duo, guitar and drums are exceptional. Keyboards build up mulitple layers. The passionate vocal brings anxiety and nostalgy typical for the late Blue Effect.

This is an excellent addition to all the studio albums and highly recommended to all proggers.

 The Blue Effect & The Jazz Q Prague: Coniunctio by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.63 | 71 ratings

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The Blue Effect & The Jazz Q Prague: Coniunctio
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars The second album by Blue Effect brings more ambitions on board. Perhaps inspired by jazz-rock attempts from the US, perhaps being self-invented, the band tries combining rock and more traditional jazz approach with subtle traces of psychedelia and heavy doses of avantgarde.

Organ, brass instruments, flute and orchestra is joining the band to record an album of good music freedom but not terrific cohesiveness.

Rock instruments are sometimes too overshadowed by orchestra and brass instruments, the flow is well organized and can even seem chaotic at times. Among best moments in the first suite "Coniunctio 1" are solo flute moments, the beginning aggressive guitar and saxophone duet, among worst ones are avantgarde organ and piano, however, a better organized piano/guitar section comes to the rescue in the 15th minute.

After this sonic experimentation, the second track "Náv?teva u tety Markéty, vypití ?álku čaje" is a balsam for ears clad in a more traditional rock outfit with first hints ot progressive rock: unusual time signatures, no clear song structure and contrastful flute and rocking sections. Some agressive King Crimson-like can be already heard as early as on this album as well as very tasty masterful soloing by Hladik which he would become famous for. After hearing this track in 1971, you would realize how gifted and proficient this young lad was and he belonged to the best ones in Czechoslovakia. "Asi půjdem se psem ven" is similar to the first track, quite experimental and avantgarde, in fact, only the drummer is audible from the rock combo. Absolutely forgettable track. "Coniunctio II" offers a more digestable edition of the title track well rooted in the 4/4 rhythm with mulitple fill-ins and organ/flute/guitar/saxophone making seamingly unorganized solos. This is actually more formidable even for a rock listener for its rich sound. Besides that, there is almost no compositional value in this track.

Giving 3 stars because of ambitions and historical value, however this album is an acquired taste.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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