Monday 25 January 2016

Kratochvil and Svoboda in April Orchestra's Vol. 32 from 1979 [bonus Vol. 34 from 1980]

I had to listen to this again after the last post.   It's just outrageous how good the compositions can get on this little library record.  Once again, we have the whole history of human musical invention collapsed into one little 33 and a third vinyl disc, like a neutron star: modern compositions in the old wild-haired classical tradition, the black creations of syncopation and rhythm and those oh so emotional flatted blues notes (the 3rd, the 7th, the satanic 5th) from jazz, the warmth of 20th c. pop, the energy of electric instruments anonymously devised by some crazy inventors who thought 'why can't we plug an acoustic instrument into a high voltage outlet and turn it up loud to see what it sounds like...' and the world was never the same again.

I implore you to drop your jaw upon hearing the piano creativity of Svoboda's Reminiscence '80 part ii:

Kratochvil's Planantissimo clearly harks forward to his work with Jazz Q:

Later his Monsieur, Moi Pas Flirter (which is followed by a companion Oui, monsieur, OK pour le flirt track at the end-- brilliant naming!) brings such an emotional resonance to the textures of the instruments, with the vibrato of the synths in the background playing unusual chord movements to an acoustic guitar tune (the chick?), which is taken up by a wonderful electric guitar later on (the stud?)-- it just makes me want to weep over the loss of this music today:

Unbelievable.  And there is not a bad track on this entire record.  As I said before it was a shock to me when I found out, after an entire adulthood spent listening to American jazz and fusion, that after a slight delay Europeans mastered the style and took it far forward in some ways, even more of a shock to hear that behind the iron curtain, in countries in which it was an utterly forbidden thing to play or even listen to, jazz and fusion flowered into such beautifully spectacular and unforgettable masterworks of beauty.

Check the full information here.

, the much more uneven Vol. 34 which features ultra-famous Jiří Stivín (two of whose tracks are well worth hearing), more (slightly less impressive) Svoboda pieces, and three astonishing, drop your heart tracks from one Petr Klapka.  (Ah ha-- it turns out we know him well, he played bass and composed for Mahagon, featured here before!)  Mentioned are the outstanding pieces.  Not to be mentioned are the terribles, which wholly a third of this 33 is blighted with.  But listen, if you get discouraged, to Klapka's Sale Temps pour une valse:

Or his even more atonal Clopin Klapka:

If this gentleman did any records of his own I beg you to let me know!!

I should also draw your attention to the amazing Vol. 37-- which is really just recycled music from the fabulous albums of Progres 2 and Combo FH as well as two short excerpts from 1980 progressive fusion masterwork Capricornus by Luboš Andršt.


  1. Vol. 32 [the masterwork]:
    Vol. 34 [the servantwork]:

  2. please reup : Milan Svoboda / Martin Kratochvíl – April Orchestra Vol. 32

    1. both 32 34 in case links dead/die