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Eclectic Prog • Czech Republic

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Hokr biography
HOKR was formed in 1979 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, by Pavel Cermak (keyboards, vocals), his younger brother Petr Cermak (drums), who emigrated to USA in 1985, Vit Novak-Rosnecky (bass) and Petr 'Hadzi' Hrkal (bass). Vladimir Liska (vocals, lyrics) joined in 1980. During 1979-82 the members operated as the two simultaneous bands HOKR 1 and HOKR 2 and from 1986 to 1999 many personell changes happened until finally they disbanded in 1999.

Around 1981 HOKR attempted to get the required official permission for performing in public. However, the authorities refused to grant it due to the nonconforming musical style and lyrics. Nevertheless during 1979-1985 the band succeeded in organizing about 15 'unofficial' performances in and around Prague, mainly for friends and friends of friends.

Live recordings from several of these concerts are existing, but all are of a very low sound recording quality
'Chemická' - 1982
'U zelené záby' - 1982
'Na Chmelnici' - 1985
'Na Jurečku' - 1982
'Pařízská, 15 let výročí' - 1994

In 2002 most of the original members decided to make a studio recording of music composed by HOKR between 1979 and 1985 and produced the album 'Hokrova Vila' during two sessions in 2003/2004.

HOKR has a unique style which is originated first of all by Vladimir Liska's native vocals and Pavel Cermak's dramatic keyboard work - recommended czech underground progressive rock.

HOKR members 1979 - 1999:
Pavel Cermak - keyboards, vocals (1979-99)
Petr Cermak - drums (1979-85)
Vit Novak-Rosnecky - bass (1979-82, HOKR 1)
Petr 'Hadzi' Hrkal - bass (1979-99, HOKR 2)
Vladimir Liska - vocals, lyrics (1980-84, HOKR 2)
Standa Zemlicka - violin (1982, HOKR 1)
Vojta Havel - cello (1982, HOKR 1)
Richard Slach - sax, guitar (1983-86)
Ladislav Jakl - vocals, drums (1985-99)
Jiri Bily - vocals
Vlado Kanuk - guitar, flute
Ivan Michal - drums

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HOKR discography

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HOKR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
3.93 | 5 ratings
Hokrova Vila
4.00 | 1 ratings
Sulcu Porce (as Pocoloco)
3.00 | 1 ratings
Zahráté brzdy optimismu

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HOKR Reviews

Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hokrova Vila by HOKR album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.93 | 5 ratings

Hokrova Vila
Hokr Eclectic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars Understanding the lyrics is obviously the advantage here (being the crazy poetry kind of juxtaposing contrary things together, mundane situations made suddenly weird). Think paranoia about being watched, criticism of current shallow society or just a man who thinks he's a chicken and will live in a henhouse. It works more with suggesting/hinting at concepts rather than directly naming them. Knowing Czech is not mandatory though.

It's OK, as there are many instrumental parts of the songs and also instrumental songs only. Very similar both lyrically and musically to Plastic People of the Underground. Being sometimes jazzy (cacophonic kind), it never lasts too long and there is strong melodic theme thorough the tracks. You can bang your head (slowly) to some of them, the rhythm goes on well.

Other than that, Rivertree said the rest well, better than I could. He gets the history of this band right and the (bad for non-conformist, Prog music) situation in Czechoslovakia back in the day this music was conceived (the height of "normalization in Czechoslovakia" - read about it on wiki, it's well written article and interesting I think). And also good translations of songs (knowing both Czech and English well I can tell that he must understand something about our culture and nation. Well, maybe a little correction, first track is actually "Tomcat has arrived (to us)" and the Cell (as in jail cell of medieval type).

One of the most proggiest Czech albums, go for it fellas!

 Sulcu Porce (as Pocoloco) by HOKR album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.00 | 1 ratings

Sulcu Porce (as Pocoloco)
Hokr Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars While this album is listed under the HOKR discography it's actually a POCOLOCO release. Pretty much the same band anyways which is why they're combined here. These guys are from the Czech Republic and they know first hand what it's like to have their music and concerts banned by the communist government. They have been around making music since the early eighties and on this particular release we get a pretty strong VDGG flavour with prominent sax and theatrical vocals. This is heavy music man with huge bass lines but it's the vocals sung in their own language that steals the spotlight for the most part. The guy has this deep voice and he can be very theatrical. Plenty of drums and percussion as well as piano but no guitar which I didn't miss. I like that they're listed under Eclectic but they do get experimental quite often. Regardless of the sub-genre this is a band full of passion, talent and adventure. This was self released in 2007.

"Nervy Na Pochodu" opens with multi-vocals offering up these strange expressions as the drums join in. Very avant to start then the sax and heaviness takes over just before a minute as the vocals stop. The vocals then return along with deep bass lines which are somewhat jazzy at times. The vocals are almost spoken yet they are full of character. "Sprint Na 100 mm" opens with piano and drums as the bass joins in then sax before a minute. Deep vocals after 2 minutes, synths too in this catchy section. Fast paced spoken vocals take over 4 minutes in and they get theatrical fast.

"Geron Tony" has deep spoken vocals with piano but it turns fuller rather quickly. Sax after a minute as the vocals stop but they are back replacing the sax a minute later. The vocals turn passionate to say the least after 3 minutes and the sax joins in as well right to the end. "Perpetuum Rodentia" has these sounds that come and go including spoken words. No melody here until we get some uptempo percussion of some sort before 1 1/2 minutes. When the sax kicks in after 2 minutes I'm thinking VDGG all the way. Nice bass here as well. This really gets intense at times, just smoking.

"Mandril" is a top four. This is powerful, especially the vocals. Heavy stuff with massive bass lines and blasting sax. The sax becomes dissonant before 1 1/2 minutes then we get vocals and some atmosphere before 2 minutes as the drums pound. Screaming sax before 2 1/2 minutes then back to that opening soundscape. "Uvitaci" is a top four as well. The sax is surprisingly light and melodic to start then a full sound arrives just before a minute including organ. It settles back around 1 1/2 minutes. I really like this as piano, bass and cymbals lead the way. The sax is back quickly though. Vocals arrive with a minute to go. I must admit that I also like this tamer version of the band.

"Vzpominky Na Kubu" is another top four, yes three in a row. Piano to start as the drums join in. Bass after a minute along with some atmosphere. Vocals join in just before 2 1/2 minutes and it turns fuller 3 minutes in. The vocals are psycho before 4 minutes. Check out the catchy drum work 5 1/2 minutes in as it settles back some, piano as well. "Vypocti Si Morone" features piano, bass and drums as the vocals and sax come and go. The sax after 3 minutes will curl your hair and check out the bass solo a minute later. Nice. "Fotr Krmivem" is my final top four and the last track on the album. Sparse piano, bass and atmosphere as spoken words join in. It kicks in after 2 minutes. Discordant piano and sax before 3 1/2 minutes. Love it! Vocals, drums and bass before 5 minutes as the sax also joins the fun. Man this is intense after 5 1/2 minutes.

This is such an enjoyable album and it doesn't hurt if your a big VDGG fan. The vocalist absolutely shines on this recording but then so do all five of these guys. A must if your into adventerous music.

 Hokrova Vila by HOKR album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.93 | 5 ratings

Hokrova Vila
Hokr Eclectic Prog

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Czech underground progressive rock ...

This is music originally composed and developed under difficult circumstances in Czechoslowakia between 1979 and 1985. As also known from other countries of the Eastern bloc the authorities only had an interest in music that matched with their dictatorial beliefs. HOKR had a nonconforming musical style and lyrics - tolerated for a while but not officially legalized and therefore the band was an underground insider's tip. But nevertheless they managed to organize several unofficial live performances in and around Prague at that time. Probably this is the reason why HOKR's music is somewhat dramatic.

Now meanwhile drummer Petr Cermák emigrated to USA and Czechoslowakia later was split in two parts and therefore doesn't exist anymore. In 2002 the band members decided to come together again to produce their former stuff as a remake. 'Hokrova Vila' is the essence of the new recordings and they can be proud of it with reason.

The album is a blend of symphonic, heavy and jazzy rocking parts with several melancholic emotional sections. Noticable of course (especially for non Czech) are Vladimír Liska's unusual native vocals which are often near to a recitative style. And he also delivers a crazy chicken intro for Na Dvore - by all means a special highlight which attracted attention here during the evaluation period of the band. Keyboarder Pavel Cermák uses an Ensoniq synthesizer which often sounds midway between hammond and mellotron and he is predominantly responsible for the dramatic mood.

If someone is missing guitars in the main line-up the band is able to point out several cello contributions as a compensation though - except the last song. Furthermore HOKR includes nice saxophone additions here and there. The album starts with the instrumental Tomcat (sorry for using the english translations) somewhat classic symphonic with cello and undergoing several changes in the course further on. We have a wonderful floating grooving part included inspired by bass player Vítek Novák-Rosnecký.

Mouse in a trance and Sorrow of the deflowered virgins are having a more jazzy/fusion character with several mood changes whereas Skin lotion with a rumbling bass and Voice of WC are heavy rocking songs with Liska's impressive contributions. The zappaesque Who rules over the stains shows a long mellow, gripping begin and Fallacy No. 64 is full of intense hammond similar keyboard parts which explodes at the end. They seem to be the most emotional songs for the band.

Some translations of the lyrics with concealed messages are given on their website and based on the titles I'm quite sure the tracks are referring to their experiences in Czechia. The same for the last song The Cell where Pavel Cermák's keyboard sounds symphonic, near to funfair carousel music.

'Hokrova Vila' offers us a unique sound - a discovery for every prog fan in any case - recommended!

Thanks to Rivertree for the artist addition.

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