Various Artists

The Best of Indies Records, Vol. 2

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The Best of Indies Records, Vol. 2 presents selections from key albums released by the Czech label Indies Records from 1996 to 2000. The label's vision of alternative music is very wide, covering a spectrum that ranges from folk-tinged instrumental music to avant punk. Inevitably, cohesion suffers -- especially for the first ten tracks, where the label packs its best acts from all allegiances. Down the road is a more organized selection, with a section of soft guitar music (Dása Andrtová & Radim Hladik's "A Year in the Village" and Malá Lesní Jablkon's "Odpoustim ti Rut") and then some strange not-quite-folk songs (Ty Sycáci's "Vesák" and Václav Koubek's "Stromy"). Highlights include Iva Bittová's beautiful "Sto Let" (from the critically acclaimed 1997 album Bilé Inferno) and songs by avant rockers BOO, Pavel Fajt, and Uz Jsme Doma, along with more delicate pieces by Oswald Schneider and Jan Hruby & Kukulin (the latter a very nice Irish folk tune). Most of the albums these tracks come from are hard to find outside Europe, so this sampler can come in handy for the music fan who would like to know what music sounds like in the Czech Republic. Then again, the label's scope is so wide that it takes a very open mind and wide musical interests to appreciate this sampler. Tastes in Eastern European folk music and avant rock, most of all, are requisite.

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