Velkomesto: The City

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Velkomesto (The City) is the final cycle of compositions performed by Extempore before the group's breakup in September 1981. Musically, it continues to move further into avant-rock territory, adding complex structures to noise experiments and elements of punk and new wave esthetics -- Rock in Opposition the Czech way. Mikolás Chadima's dark lyrics conjure up a postmodern city and its dwellers, full of concrete, dirt, and grey. The first four themes were written in late 1979. This half-hour of music was available on cassette in the mid-'80s under the title Velkomesto I. In 1980 Chadima devised with the band a fifth theme, this time an hour-long string of compositions known as Velkomesto II (or Sny Obyvatele Velkomesta). In 2001, the label Black Point released both cycles, the complete Velkomesto project, as a two-CD set, accompanied by a 160-page book (booklet format) with numerous photos of the band, a detailed biography, and lyrics to all the pieces they performed up to 1981 -- all Czech texts translated in English. Velkomesto takes This Heat and the Art Bears and adds some new wave flare and the gloomy atmosphere of Chadima's music. It points toward what his MCH Band would sound like while pushing Extempore's sound into the '80s. Disc two ends with a couple of covers, including a warped rendition of Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love." The live recordings are clean enough to be enjoyable. The whole package makes a great document and anyone interested in the avant-rock style developed during this period by record labels like Recommended, RecRec, and Rift should check this album out.

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