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Jan Hrubý


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Two years after Stará Vlna, Jan Hruby released Mezidobí, an intimate solo album. The violinist takes care of all keyboards and programming and is only supported by Pavel Puta's acoustic guitar. About half of the pieces are instrumentals. The other ones feature a revolving cast of singers. Josef Klíma appears on the highest number of tracks, followed by Vladimír Misík, Michal Prokop, and Jana Lewitová. The latter interprets two touching ballads (in English), one of them an ode to George Harrison, then recently deceased. Hruby's writing stands on extensive knowledge of East-European and Irish traditions. His playing is constantly mournful or melancholia-filled -- even in the lively tunes it never turns completely joyful. In the songs the violin often takes a back-row role. The instrumentals, on the other hand, feature multiple tracks. Ill-chosen keyboard sounds give a few tunes an outdated mood ("Poslední Parník Na Mississippi," for instance). Hruby doesn't need to rely on keyboards -- his violin alone can support a piece, and it does twice, at the very beginning and end of the album. Listeners could take more of that. Despite some variety between songs (introduced by the different singers and the song/tune paradigm), the album as a whole feels somewhat unidimensional. Laid-back, almost too non-intrusive for its own good, it can easily turn to wallpaper music if you let your attention wander. Each piece has been carefully chiselled in the studio, but in the end, despite a few memorable melodies, Mezidobí ("Interim") passes by without leaving a lasting impression.

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