Jan Burian


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Zrcadlo (Mirror) sees Czech singer/songwriter Jan Burian come back to the simple song format. With a hand extended toward the tradition of American folk singers (J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan) and the other reaching for the French chanson of Moustaki and Brassens, his feet remain firmly standing on Czech ground. It can be heard in the delicate strands of humor woven in his texts, in the occasional freedom he takes (in "Fantazie," more electronic, in the title track with an atonal guitar solo), and, of course, in the lyrics sung in Czech (but provided in a good English translation in the booklet). Burian wrote all lyrics and music and plays piano, while Jan Amos is responsible for the arrangements, percussion, and various ornaments. The best tracks remain the ones kept bare: piano, vocals, some drums, and bass to give them more power. Whenever synthesizers and electronics are brought in, they sound slightly outdated and dull out the evocative power of the lyrics. The charm in Burian's music comes from a certain immediacy in the delivery of his honest voice (putting him very close to Psi Vojaci's Filip Topol in that regards). Anything coming between that and the listener can only weaken his otherwise very straightforward songs. Highlights include "Na Dovolené" (where God has been on vacation for a few hundred years) and "Kámásútra" (where a girl insists on making love "With her hand on her heart / And head in the clouds").

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