Mikolás Chadima

Transparent People (Pruhlední Lidé)

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Recorded at the end of 1997 and beginning of 1998, Pruhlední Lidé (in English: Transparent People) brings together two creative forces of the Czech avant-rock scene. Dunaj drummer, collaborator of Iva Bittová, and leader of his own band Pluto, Pavel Fajt lays his rock-driven, subtle, and highly personal playing under the dark songs of Extempore saxophonist and leader of MCH Band Mikolás Chadima. Ivan Wernisch, by then an instrumental part of Chadima's bleak world, penned most of the lyrics. Fajt's songs ("Jaro," "Ó Jejich Boze") become middle grounds, moving with Pluto's pulse but inhabited by Chadima's detached vocals. As for the latter's songs, they differ very little from his own group's repertoire or Pseudemokritos, his 1996 CD with Peter Binder and Ales Charvát. If anything, the music sounds fuller, richer in terms of arrangements, and the drummer's work complements it better than a drum machine. "Z Veselého Sveta" ("Of a Merry World," a cynical title) opens the album with a song barely over a minute featuring Fajt's trusty bassist Tomás Fröhlich. For a few seconds, the listener is allowed to wonder if this will be more Fajt than Chadima, but once "Ale to Nic, to Prejde" is reached, there is no doubt left as to whose identity dominates. Other highlights include "Kámen s Nápisem Ruze," a rare appearance of MCH's raspy saxophone, and the title track presented in two very different versions, one for each musician. This is a nice (but not stellar) album that should please fans of either artist. The booklet, printed on transparent paper, contains lyrics in Czech and English.

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