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PRAZSKY VYBER

Eclectic Prog • Czech Republic


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Prazsky Vyber biography
Prazsky Vyber, at their peak of fame and success represented the very best of new wave music, yet this characterization represents only a snapshot of the band's history. Similarly to Robert Fripp & Co., they have always been keen to revamp their sound according to times, while keeping certain trademarks intact. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. The band was founded in 1976 and was actually a small selection of musicians from the Prague Big Band, hence the name Prazsky Vyber, meaning Prague Selection. At the helm of pianist Michael Kocab, the only constant member throughout its history, the band was playing sophisticated jazz-fusion, as documented on their debut album from 1978 entitled "Zizen" (Thirst).
At the heart of the next legendary era, was the meeting of two minds, Michael Kocab and guitarist Michal Pavlicek. The two had already worked together in jazz-rock bands Bohemia and Mahagon but this time Pavlicek approached Kocab to collaborate on something completely different, having recently been exposed to new wave music at a festival in Reading, UK. Since Pavlicek's band Expanze was defunct, they used Kocab's name Prazsky Vyber for the new project. The rhythm section consisted of Pavlicek's former bandmate from Expanze Jiri Hrubes on drums, and Ondrej Soukup on bass. The band not only embraced new wave as a musical style but also its image. They wore makeup, strange hairstyles and wigs. The musical style from this time is very well characterized by this excerpt from the Encyclopedia of Jazz and Modern Popular Music: "along with aggressive rock, (they) borrowed some vocal inspiration from the related punk-rock (style, lack of melodic singing, recitation), though compared to punk primitivism (they) created a complex musical structure, utilizing a wide palette of styles and creative abilities of the musicians. Their jazz background swayed them away from mainstream pop music, but at the same time (they) also avoided complicated forms of 70s rock (ie. art rock). Plethora of melodic, harmonic and arranging ideas were framed in 4/4 bars: incessantly pulsating hard rhythm with catchy bass figures driving Kocab's short synth motives, which appear and then disappear, and Pavlicek's excellent guitar riffs". Another trademark of theirs was the use of a non-sensical spontaneous language made to resemble English which they termed "svahilstina". Kocab claims that they only used svahilstina because they didn't have time or the ability to write real lyrics...
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PRAZSKY VYBER Videos (YouTube and more)


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BerBer
Supraphon 2013
Audio CD$17.42
KompletKomplet
Import · Original recording
Bonton Music a. s.
Audio CD$248.57 (used)


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PRAZSKY VYBER discography


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

3.00 | 4 ratings
Zízeň [Thirst]
1978
4.40 | 21 ratings
Prazský Výběr [aka Straka v hrsti]
1982
3.55 | 11 ratings
Výběr
1987
3.56 | 9 ratings
Běr
1997
3.14 | 9 ratings
Vymlácený rockový palice [as Pražský Výběr II]
2007

PRAZSKY VYBER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.67 | 3 ratings
Adieu C.A.: Live
1991
3.96 | 4 ratings
Beatová Síň Slávy
2005

PRAZSKY VYBER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

PRAZSKY VYBER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 5 ratings
Komplet
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tango Ropotámo
1998
4.00 | 2 ratings
Habaděj
1999

PRAZSKY VYBER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Mini jazz klub č. 17
1977
4.00 | 2 ratings
Komu se nelení - tomu se zenění / Jó, já se mám.
1982

PRAZSKY VYBER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Prazský Výběr [aka Straka v hrsti] by PRAZSKY VYBER album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.40 | 21 ratings

BUY
Prazský Výběr [aka Straka v hrsti]
Prazsky Vyber Eclectic Prog

Review by dubovsky

3 stars This album isn't bad. They have very good parts, but some of it can get pretty tiring. It might change my perspective if I was able to understand the language, but not only does the instrumental component get a little tiring, but also the way in which some of the numbers are sung is just overdone. I feel almost as if they are trying a little too hard on the singing. It gets irritating for me.

There are really groovy parts like the song: " Můj koníček" has a very great bass line in the beginning, but as the song progresses, the singing and high-pitched guitar riff get repetitive. I can totally appreciate the effort that was made in putting the album together, but is it worth five stars, or essential for a progressive rock collection? I don't think so.

But, I really think they are worth giving a listen. I just wish they could take the singing more seriously.

Bangabasava sounds a little bit like Police.

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 Prazský Výběr [aka Straka v hrsti] by PRAZSKY VYBER album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.40 | 21 ratings

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Prazský Výběr [aka Straka v hrsti]
Prazsky Vyber Eclectic Prog

Review by zappadaddy

5 stars Oh my goodness,people wake up and hurry to get this jewel of rock music!!! For the world this band is unknown and that is too bad.In Czech rep ,Straka v hrsti won no.1 record of all times in some polls. Guitarist Pavlíček played one song on stage with Frank Zappa,he is one of the best payers(the best one is probably Hladík with his band Blue effect) of all time in Czech rep,Vilém Čok ,ex-Zikkurat bass guitar player,was the craziest guy of czech scene in late 70's,Klaudius Kryspín drummer and controversial Michael Kocáb, vocalist and keyboard player, who helped czech goverment to send russians back home,famous for being very close to Frank Zappa ,composing some music with him,also helped to organize arrival of Zappa to Czechoslovakia and now is getting a lot of criticizm for being'' gypsy king ''in goverment battle for minority rights(especially Romes aka gypsys).In early stage influenced by jazz and then quickly changed to rock with some elements of parody,new wave,punk and Pere Ubu(Modern dance era) maybee it has some moments from Captain Beefheart's music as well.In early 80's Prazsky vyber aka Prague selection was hugely popular and performing crazy shows,singing in their special language svahilstina for example Bangabasava,zupá.In 1982 they made their first record Straka v hrsti on vinyl,which was immidietly banned.It is an album wich is not prog at all in my mind but wild extempore of very skilled musicians,combining funny lyrics(they are very important to understand this music),hard driving theatrical dada rock but somehow it belongs here and deserves very sunny place on this prog site.Listen this album very loudly and you will find out that it is one of the most crazy music you ever heard.

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 Vymlácený rockový palice [as Pražský Výběr II] by PRAZSKY VYBER album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.14 | 9 ratings

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Vymlácený rockový palice [as Pražský Výběr II]
Prazsky Vyber Eclectic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

3 stars I wondered, how should I approach this. I admire their one album (from their best years). This band is considered as one of the best in this crazy-eclectic (nonsensical) style. Some members left and so frontman Michal Kocáb, except doing career in politics, reformed the group and made it again.

Title of album means ("Old Rock Headbangers") and so it is, their best years are gone, but, like the old dogs, they can still at least bark. Ty Vole ("Oh, Fuck") is experiment. How will Czech listeners take parts of Soviet hymn (or international, or how is the song called) and I have to say that Kocáb, anti-communist for sure meant it as a joke, or some kind of parody. But it's doesn't sound so good in it, bad memories it brings. But let's continue, it is still the same crazy rock, only the sound has changed. It's more worn, even still full of these crazy ideas I like. It even becomes pathetic somehow. Later on, more communism parodies appears (lyrical).

3(-), it is trying so hard to stick with current age and also progress somehow. It fails to some extent, but not completely. Note that latter half of this album is fat better than first one.

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 Prazský Výběr [aka Straka v hrsti] by PRAZSKY VYBER album cover Studio Album, 1982
4.40 | 21 ratings

BUY
Prazský Výběr [aka Straka v hrsti]
Prazsky Vyber Eclectic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

5 stars Before you start considering this album, I have to warn you that this is quite dark record. Perfect, but not optimistic, or pleasant (like symphonic prog). More like furious, full of ideas, promising, but also devastating. But well worth of your attention and money

Strange that the probably best decade for prog music in Czech Republic are 80's. Not so strange, when you consider "shift", we were quite slowed down here, having things released later, genres introduced very later (60's were also little bit swing era), because of WW2 and then

Let's start with statement, that everything is unbelievable insane here Hrabě X ("Count X") starts with psychedelic spoken words (by guitarist's little son actually), them followed by hell interesting and simply riff accompanied by sinister (parodying Dracula) vocals. It's song about weird man misunderstood by everyone, because of his vampiric habits (that are named here). Not crazy enough for you ? We'll get more of these. Watch for little, short parts of this song, as 2:56-2:3:03 (drums with keyboard), really reminding me Beardfish. No, there's no way how could BF be inspired by this.

Na václavském Václaváku ("On Wenceslavic [adjective] Wenceslaw Square"), with full presentation of Vilém Čok's vocals that can almost yodel. Well, it's about little boy lost in Prague, the biggest and quite overcrowded city. Considering the form in which it's made. Furious guitar riff that again, serves only as background for imagination (keyboard mastery, both by skills and ideas). Even solos are fast here and you'll have hard time to keep track with this song I suppose. My suggestion is just to enjoy it.

Straka v hrsti ("Magpie In Hand") starts with crazy introduction (sadly, you don't get chance to see Michal Kocáb on wheelchair with keyboards strapped to it, Michal Pavlíček in crazy hat and shirt with punkish looking (singer from second track) Vilém Čok doing bass quite furiously (he's little bit crazy, but that's advantage in this band).

And others are great too, I said enough.

5(+) without doubts, without bad things, simply pure dark prog psychedelic-crazy rock. Get it if you can (and I suggest you to find it even if you can't). It's the best thing you can get from Czech Republic (or one of the top10 at least)

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 Beatová Síň Slávy by PRAZSKY VYBER album cover Live, 2005
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Beatová Síň Slávy
Prazsky Vyber Eclectic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

4 stars One can't help but rating certain albums better than others. I'm from Czech Republic, same as this band. Maybe it's also because I understand it more, I know origins of band, how their members behave, what other project and civil activities are they doing, a lot about their lifestyle, biographies (which I can connect in my mind with other things) and also lyrics. You have to be native speaker to understand lyrics as much as you can. Then you have to also be sentient, poetic and crazy (a little bit). The last thing is important here.

Do you see this cover and man with strange face ? This is main singer, he is wearing a mask. My father has replica (trout?) of this mask at home, I remember being frigtened by it. This is live, this means that all good sounds are played here. Well, not in every case, but here it is like that.

"Pražákům těm je tu hej" is for example (finally I feel completely well suited for commenting lyrics) about Prague, capital city of Czech Republic. As from not so big city, just few hundreds of thousand people, I understand him. There are street names sung through entire song and between it there is a section which is still repeating on different occasions "Praguers they're fine the most, they never get lost" (OK, first word "most" is my work, there should have be "fine", or "allright", but rhyme would be lost from original "hej - nezabloudej"). And that's nice irony, for foreigners, even from people from different cities (consider that our country has second largest city of 500.000 people, fourth is 200.000 and Prague has 1.200.000). This takes song to higher level, not just shouting names of streets, but it's irony, delicate one. This with typical keyboard, psychedelic like keyboard solo as intro to this song means this is fully deserved one of their best songs.

You have to be in special mood to give this five stars. One way is to be long time fan of this (here) legendary band, probably the most well known prog rock band in public.

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Thanks to clarke2001 for the artist addition. and to Magor for the last updates

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