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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt)

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt) A Benefit of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík] album cover
4.28 | 188 ratings | 14 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1974

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Shoes (Boty) (9:57)
2. Tea-Room (Čajovna) (4:01)
3. Jigsaw Puzzle (Skládanka) (5:49)
4. Lost-And-Found (Ztráty a nálezy) (5:12)
5. Hypertension (Hypertenze) (12:30)

Total Time 37:29

Bonus tracks on 2000 Bonton remaster:
6. Armageddon (6:22) *
7. Clara (4:13) °

* Previously released on "Hallo Nr. 10" VVAA compilation - Radio studio Berlin, 1973
° Previously released on "Hallo Nr. 9" VVAA compilation - LIVE, Kulturhaus Leuna, 1973

Line-up / Musicians

- Radim Hladík / acoustic, electric & Hawaiian (steel) guitars, ring modulator, arrangements
- Lesek Semelka / piano, organ, vocals
- Josef Kůstka / bass, violin, vocals
- Vlado Čech / drums

- Martin Kratochvíl / Fender electric piano
- Jiří Stivín / flute, alto saxophone

Releases information

ArtWork: Ivanka Zichová & Josef Zich (design) with Jan Hlína & Vladimír Merta (photo)

LP PZO Artia / Supraphon 1 13 1586 (1974, Czechoslovakia) Export version entitled "The Blue Effect: A Benefit Of Radim Hladík"
LP Supraphon 1 13 1777 (1975, Czechoslovakia) Domestic version entitled "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík", different cover and track order (1,3,2,4,5)

NOTE: Despite different album titles, catalog numbers and altered track sequence, the actual recordings on each version are identical.

CD Bonton 495274-2 (2000, Czech Republic) Remastered by Jiří Charypar w/ 2 bonus tracks

Other reissues

Thanks to melos for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) A Benefit of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík] ratings distribution

(188 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT) A Benefit of Radim Hladík [Aka: Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars By the time of this album's release Blue Effect was old history and just why this album mentioned Hladic above the rest of the group is a bit of a mystery to me, but the group's history is loaded with band's name changes, so one more or less. Anyway the previous two albums that had meddled free jazz and beat music (the Nova Synteza albums) were also history, and the group now developed a solid jazz-rock mixed with some symphonic moments ala Yes or Crucis, and everyone agrees is ME's best period, even if this was not their most adventurous works. Over the course of the next four albums (including this one), ME will simply astound by the quality of their music only approached by their Slovak friends, Fermatá. Recorded in 73 but only released in 75, the industrial artwork gracing the album is rather Stalinian, but is a good companion to the music.

The album starts wildly enough on a strong 10-min Boty track (which seems to be a rework of one of their Nova Synteza works) that seems to take on both Yes and Finch with a strong duel between Stivin's flute and Hladik's shinning guitar lines. Cajovna is a short mellower track where Hladik takes his guitar on melodic grounds ala Peter Green or Carlos Santana (but not being as singular as either), but ends just as we wished it would before becoming too clichéd. The following Skladanka is more axed towards Semelka's keyboards, Stivin's flute, but the explorative and sometimes funky bass of Kutska make this track his moment of glory on this album.

The flipside is much in the line of the its counterface, with Ztrary A Nalezy starting on acoustic guitar (as well as electric later on) taking us for a short ride before getting back to the acoustic theme as way of an outro. The aptly-titled 12-min+ Hypertenze, partly because of an affect that is to be heard on ELP's BSS track KE9, which this writer's blood to rise above reasonable levels. Otherwise the track is a killer with an excellent electric piano and godd sax solos trading wild licks with Hladic's guitars parts, the middle quiet passage being particularly fertile in erectility, which is not good for the listener's hypertension (didn't you know I wasn't leaving this review without making one of these ;o). Radimwas seen as bit as Clapton was in the late 60's' London scene, and this kind of album would do nothing to dispel the myth.

Two bonus tracks grace this excellent album, and they date from 73 (as the album did), and both are sung, which of course sticks out quite a bit with the instrumental album they are included with. While they don't hurt the album, the two tracks (the second being recorded live) have a harder edge and the very Italian-delivery of the very present vocals; making quite a contrast with the album original tracks. To those needing comparison, these two songs would fit better on Flamengo's sole album than on this one. Nevertheless the quality of these bonuses is good enough to keep the CD reissue album on an essential level.

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Modrý Efekt is one of those bands mailing from behind the Curtain of Iron in the 60s and 70s that happen to be highly praised among progressive and jazz-rock circles. And quite deservedly so. If Fermata was the Slovakian king of progressive rock, Módry Efekt assumed a parallel superior role in the Czech side of the former Czechoslovakia. "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladik" is the name of ME's fifth studio effort, and that's a weird name for an album recorded by a band whose lead guitarist, founder and main writer is precisely Mr. Hladik. Anyway, mysteries aside, let's go for the review of the album itself. 'Boty' is the opening cut that initially states a brief synth-based whirlwind before the main motif settles in with its full power. The emergence of this sort of strength in no way diminishes the installment of a clearly defined melodic dynamics through the guitar leads and the effective keyboard layers. The mood and motif shifts are managed craftily, in full progressive fashion; the flute solo during the spacey interlude is just lovely, establishing a proper contrast against the frantic guitar-dominated passages. Sometimes things get as wild as in your regular LZ or DP album, no kidding! Hladik is a masterful elaborator of the influences he receives from Akkerman, Page and Hendrix at once. There is also a cosmic organ solo wildly oriented toward the higher pitches. After this red hot opening number comes a very different one, the melancholic 'Čajovna', whose framework may remind us of Focus-meets- Finch. 'Skládanka' finds the band turning back to the frenzy side of things, with its powerful mixture of jazz-rock and heavy prog. Once again, the guest flautist shines with his sensibility, although Hladik is the one who naturally gets his instrument more featured, at the end of the day. 'Ztráty a nálezy' starts with a focus on the acoustic guitar, which is soon accompanied by multiple electric guitar ornaments on a very psychedelic note. The main body arrives with the installment of a slow-paced atmosphere, not without its proper dose of energy. The album's official repertoire is closed down by 'Hypertenze': its Mahavishnu-friendly funky birations mingle quite fluidly with the explicitely hard rocking passages. Arguably, here is the most proficient bass work, and perhaps there are also the most accomplished spacey sounds from the synth. The final section is a glorious progressive litany with a notorious charge of neurosis: the explosive sax solo is essential for this sort of mood. There are 2 bonuses in this CD edition: 'Armageddon' is an interesting psych-rock song that might bear some family airs with Trettioariga Kriget, and 'Clara' is an attractive exercise on hard rock with beat nuances. All in all, none of these tracks equals the fantastic majesty of the official tracklist - those 5 tracks alone suffice to label this CD as a genuine prog masterpiece, at least to my ears.
Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars This was my first ever contact with this legendary Czech outfit. I have to say I didn´t know about them until a few weeks ago when a friend told me about the group and ask me to research for them. I was quite surprised how well recorded and well done is their musc. The original album seems to be totally instrumental and the style varies from prog rock ( Boty, Čajovna and Ztráty a nálezy, with some Camel influence on the latter two) to pure jazz rock/fusion stravaganza (Sládanka, that could easily be on Frank Zappa´s 70´s stuff) to mix of them both (Hypertenze).

Besides Radim Hladík´s excellent guitar work and the usual keyboards/bass/drums backing, we still have some interesting sax, flute and violin adds. The two bonus tracks are the only ones with vocals on it. The first is Armaggedon, another Frank Zappa influenced piece and Clara, recorded live that shows some real strong Santana overtones (in fact, I wonder if it is not a cover of a lost Santana song).

The musicanship is obviously brilliant. Although jazz rock/fusion is not my cup of tea, it is also not possible to overlook the talent and skill of those guys. I enjoyed the record very much, even if it took some spins to fully appreciate it. A nice surprise. If you like fusion or is prog lover with an open mind, this CD is recommended

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars So far, I'm the only one from my country to review it. However, there is one guy from Slovakia, so even these guys are mostly Czechs, we were one country in these times. But still, I'm glad that I can review this one. It's also first album I've ever heard, while Čajovna in version from Klobouček is first track heard.

Boty (Boots, or maybe shoes, it's not certain) has wonderful guitar solo in the beginning. If something confirms that this is masterpiece, then it's this track. And then, flute work by Jiří Stivín (he's respected jazz flutist here, even now). After this, they're not dueling, more like working back to back, together to heights of musical craftsmanship. But my personal favourite (due to long time addiction) is Čajovna, or should I say (The Tea Room). Simply killer melody, enigmatic and even better in live performation.

5(+) for one of the best works from my country and also great fusion of jazz and rock.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As Polish S.B.B. was greatest Eastern European progressive rock band during 70-s, Czech Blue Effect was the same, but in the field of jazz rock. (Yes, on this album, as on some previous and some next as well the name of the band is stated as "Modrý Efekt", because of Socialist government pressure against using of English names for bands - yes, such things were quite usual in Eastern Europe, still controlled by Moscow).

Radim Hladik is excellent guitarist, showing there on this album all his potential. Guest flautist Jiří Stivín bring his Ian Anderson-like flute sound, making the music almost perfect. Still rooted in blues-rock, with influences from symphonic, band represents there his best music ever.

Comparing to Slovak Fermata - their nearest colleagues in place and time, Blue Effect (I will name them in that way, no Moscow pressure anymore) is more acoustic, mostly guitar/flute/ drums based. They are using keyboards, but for some back-up arrangements mostly. As a result, their sound is real guitar jazz-rock. Fermata's music is mostly keyboards based, deeper orchestrated and with big portion of symphonic prog.

But both bands has one thing in common - very melodic music with symphonic elements and quality arrangements. I prefer Blue Effect music as less symphonic, more guitar-rock based, but it is more question of taste. In fact, if you like Fermata, you will like Blue Effect, and v.v.

Recommended to any lover of jazz-rock, instrumental guitar prog and symphonic prog from mid-70-s. One of the best Eastern European release from this field. Really 4,5.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. I must admit it was a little confusing when I tried to look MODRY EFEKT up on the site here a couple of years ago, only to find there was no listing for them.The confusion was cleared up when it was revealed that this band was originally called BLUE EFFECT but had to change their name to MODRY EFEKT because the Czech communist government frowned on English names. I'm not sure why Radim Hladik's name is in the title of this album along with the band's name. Radim had been the guitarist for this band from the first album on, but it seems they were giving him prominance here maybe because he is the dominating performer on this record. I do prefer this to their later albums that have vocals on them but I would rate it as my second favourite after their "Coniunctio" record.

"Boty" builds to start then it settles in with drums and guitar being the prominant instruments. A calm 3 minutes in as it turns FLOYD-like but with flute.The guitar starts to solo tastefully. It kicks in before 6 minutes and the guitar starts to light it up. "Cajovna" sounds so good. Very relaxed as the guitar plays beautifully over top. "Skladanka" features outbursts of sound including some aggressive flute. It settles in around a minute.The flute is prominant. It's the guitar's turn 2 1/2 minutes in then the flute takes over again late.

"Ztraty A Nalezy" opens with strummed guitar, flute and what sounds like violin. Guitar and drums kick in after 2 minutes.The earlier theme is back late. "Hypertenze" has a heavy intro. It picks up after 1 1/2 minutes. The drumming is excellent here. Piano then what sounds like sax after 3 minutes. The guitar and sax are trading off. It settles after 5 minutes then starts to build around 8 minutes. It's heavy like the intro before 9 minutes. Vocal melodies arrive a minute later. Sax is back as the vocal melodies continue. Nice.

A very good album where Radim gets to lets loose on his guitar and show off his incredible talent.

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Dense but carefully constructed instrumental heaviness from the Czech heroes where the riff is king and, except superficially, very little jazz (or "jazz rock" for that matter) can be heard. The loosely sketched self-harmonies of master guitarist Radim Hladik led a crack outfit who made the most of less-than-ideal circumstances, and punch out no bullsh*t guitar rock that moves between inspired chopping and lighter parts featuring Jiri Stivin's flute & Hladik's acoustic.

Insistent 'Boty' sets the large and layered tone, Hladik an original voice who, though perhaps influenced by the likes of Clapton and others, really sets his own pace here, and Blue Effect was influencing Central & Eastern European players as much as they were taking from Western ones. At ten minutes it's satisfying heavy progrock with enough grit to remind you where it came from. 'Skladanka' treats with lots of quirks and contradictions, a crazed blitherer, Radim's post-Hendrix yelps and some mad funky rhythms. Great track, matched by the tone-web of 'Ztraty a Nalezy' and its faint Procol Harum-isms, and they finally breakout the jazz for 12-minute vamp 'Hypertenze'. 'Armageddon' and 'Clara' are two good bonuses on the Sony/Bonton remaster from 2000.

A real performance from one of the best central European rock bands ever-- a reminder that there was prog out there that rocked, and that intricate music could be made without an abundance of synths, effects, masters degrees or compartmentalized recording techniques.

Review by GruvanDahlman
5 stars As far as fusion, jazz rock, prog jazz or whatever goes, this is one of my ultimate delights. Alongside Chicago's "II" this is an amazingly solid, enthralling and captivating listening experience. The fact that it hails from behind the Iron curtain makes it eqaully impressing. Now, I know there are alot of excellent music hailing from back there but I am still amazed everytime something as good as this comes my way, like Phoenix' "Cantafabule" or Klan's "Mrowisko".

The opener "Boty" is like a kick in the face with it's great energy and power. In my opinion they could not have opened the album in a better way. Gloriuos! The next track, "Cavojne", is a melancholic little thing, which has that Eastern block feel to it. The sadness seems to cry out for an existence in freedom, void of the communist oppression. Maybe I am reading a bit too much into it, I don't know. After "Cavojne" there are two great tracks leading up to "Hypertenze", my way into the albums as a whole. Man, what a riff! "Hypertenze" is a monolithic, almost Sabbath-heavy track comprised of great soloing inside a jam-like session. The electric piano with it's stabs of slightly overdriven fuzz is excellent, as is everything else on this track.

There is talk of the guitarist being the star of the band but I beg to differ. Surely he is brilliant but it is in connection with the other musicians he really comes to the fore. The bass player is awesome as is the keyboard player and the really good drummer. Jazz and rock blend so well together. The improvisational side of jazz alongside the roughness, directness and attitude of rock makes for something really mindblowing. Sometimes, anyway.

I think that this is THE place to start, if you are at all interested in the music of Modry Efekt. It holds their past and their future in one great album. The jazzrock of yesterday, looking forward to all the more complex stuff of the symphonic era. The album in it self is one of the most powerful and direct jazz rock/prog fusion albums I have ever heard and is recommended to anyone interested in the genre. Vibrant, rough, exciting and inspired are just four words to describe it. Marvellous!

Review by Warthur
4 stars Just as Yes were spending 1974 exploring fusion sounds using their symphonic rock chops as a foundation, Blue Effect were approaching Camel-styled symphonic rock from a fusion direction. This album comes in two editions "A Benefit of Radim Hladik" for the export market, and "Modrý Efekt & Radim Hladík" for the domestic market in Czechoslovakia, but there's no real difference in the music you get - save that the domestic version has some nice surreal cover art, whereas the international version just looks awfully tacky, with an earnest attempt to make Radim Hladik look like a rock god rather failing.

What you get in either package is some excellent, slightly spacey progressive rock played by skilled jazz fusion artists; it's clear that in either edition Radim Hladik was being pushed as the band leader, but in fact the whole group turns in some excellent performances. For the most part instrumental save for some ethereal wailing here and there, this album didn't just benefit Radim Hladik, but the whole art rock scene.

Latest members reviews

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2286093) | Posted by sgtpepper | Sunday, December 8, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Of the four albuns from M EFFEKT which figures in my progressive music collection (Modry Effekt & Radim Hladik, Svitannie , Svet Hiedacu and 33 ) this is my opinion that more really fits in jazz-fusion category., even the two bonus tracks including in the Bonus tracks on 2000 CD re-issue: ... (read more)

Report this review (#545861) | Posted by maryes | Saturday, October 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A rather strange album and perhaps the crowning achievement of this band. It has taken me a long time to get into this album. I have found it incoherent and a bit sparse on the goods. But still............ Others has described this band and album better than me. I am totally new to this band ... (read more)

Report this review (#443198) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, May 5, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Almost fully instrumental, this record includes a reworked number from Nová syntéza 2 (Je třeba obout boty a pak dlouho jít) as Boty and several new ones. Boty 5 Very much similar ... (read more)

Report this review (#129362) | Posted by Peto | Friday, July 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The heaviest album from Modry Efekt. Some killer duels between guitar and flute, excellent compositions, long and dynamic. Powerfull rhytmic section in a way that will amaze you. Furious drumming. Almost instrumental, the first band we can recall hearing this work is Jethro Tull, thanks to the ... (read more)

Report this review (#50218) | Posted by Melos | Thursday, October 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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