Soundtrack to the political thriller Je Suis KarlPlay

Soundtrack to the political thriller Je Suis Karl

Political thriller Je Suis Karl, produced by German director Christian Schwochow, has a strong Czech connection. The soundtrack has been created by Czech musician and composer Tomáš Dvořák, a.k.a. Floex, who joined forces with British composer and pianist Tom Hodge. The soundtrack for Je Suis Karl has just been released today.

"In this project, Tom and I built on music that we wrote together three years ago for the album A Portrait Of John Doe. While this was the first feature film for me, Tom has extensive experience with composing music for movies and series," commented Dvořák.

Co-produced by the Czech company Negativ and filmed in part in the Czech Republic, the movie features characters played by Czech actresses Anna Fialová and Elizaveta Maximová. The picture makes use of the story of a young German girl, Maxi, and her family to draw attention to rising extremism among right-wing nationalists. Je Suis Karl was premiered during this year's Berlinale film festival in the Berlinale Special section.

At the director's initiative, music for Je Suis Karl was composed based on the script before the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Christian Schwochow asked for a demo, but when Tom and I set to work in Prague, we came up with a huge amount of inspired stuff within a short time, and the music became the foundation of the soundtrack. Because of the pandemic, the music itself was created on a long-distance basis. It was a game of ping-pong of sorts," Dvořák added. The soundtrack for Je Suis Karl features a unique timbre, far from the traditional symphonic sound. Instead, the sonic design relies on a fusion of dark, discordant, dirty sounds that present the symphony orchestra in a novel fashion.

Floex and Hodge created a database of loops, sounds, soundscapes, and sonic experiments with no specific compositional context. In composing music for individual scenes, they used this musical database, remixed themes and versions of compositions, and worked with vintage equipment, such as the Yamaha MT4X cassette player. Considering the large quantity of music recorded, the album contains 14 compositions from the movie itself, plus bonus tracks that did not make it into the film.

The Je Suis Karl Soundtrack is released on a black 180-gram LP and in digital format by the Czech label Minority Records. The film will appear in cinemas starting on January 13, 2022.

The second single from the forthcoming album UnravelPlay

The second single from the forthcoming album Unravel

Ambient industrial planes laced with electronics and pop as well as an attractive elusiveness—this is the new song Timeless from Czech band Manon Meurt. The second single from the forthcoming album Unravel, produced by Eddie Stevens, is coming out on Minority Records.

“Genre-wise, Timeless is an antipole of our autumn single Mirrors. Eddie has widened our sound spectrum and on Timeless, he emphasized the dynamics and the way we tell the story,” the drummer Jiří Bendl says.

British producer and musician Eddie Stevens became famous for his collaboration with Moloko and Róisín Murphy, however, he has been gaining accolades on the Czech and Slovak music scene as well where he has produced several award-winning albums.

“Timeless was written during the evenings on the way from work in trams and in the car, where life’s hum intensifies. Everyone is headed somewhere, in a rush, and the horizon is changing colour above all this, as if to oppose the hustle and bustle with its magnificence and to remind us of the triviality of this haste, of its fleetingness. I enjoy watching this hum, it reminds me how great it is that I can disconnect from it for a moment and just take in the present moment,” explained Kateřina Elznicová, the author of the lyrics and multi-instrumentalist, about the origin of the song.

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The Orff Brothers are going on tour in April and release Song for Stefania Sauer single on streaming servicesPlay

The Orff Brothers are going on tour in April and release Song for Stefania Sauer single on streaming services

The autumn release of The Orff Brothers' Šero and Bingriwingri album reissue on the Minority Records label will be followed up by the band's six-city tour in April. The Orff Brothers will perform on April 17 at the Jazz Tibet Club in Olomouc, on April 18 at the Dock in Ostrava, on April 19 at the Church of St. Janů in Opava, April 24 at the Kabinet Múz in Brno, April 25 at the Kasárna Karlín in Prague and April 26 at the Oskar Nedbal Theatre in Tábor.

The Orffs also prepared a small surprise for the fans - the release of the Song for Stefania Sauer on streaming platforms.

"We went back almost thirty years when this song was created and re-recorded it in a simple vocal arrangement with only the accompaniment of the talented young Krnov pianist Matěj Černý," says singer and guitarist Ivan Gajdoš. The contemplative Song for Stefania Sauer is accompanied by a video clip, which is supported by band members and tattoo artist and illustrator Nella Vilímková.

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Manon Meurt present the single Mirrors from their upcoming albumPlay

Manon Meurt present the single Mirrors from their upcoming album

Manon Meurt once again joined forces with a strong producer personality, and the new song was created under the baton of the British musician and producer Eddie Stevens who is known for his collaboration with Moloko, Zero 7 or Róisín Murphy.

“Eddie’s approach included splitting our songs into individual fragments. We recorded each fragment with a different sound setup for the instruments and then we combined them together again to get the final form. Our collaboration was creative, unpredictable and constantly evolving, same as the result that we’re releasing in April 2024 and that we’ll follow up with a series of concerts. Thanks to Eddie, we’ve ventured into places as a band, where no one would have probably expected us a few years ago. We’ve learned to have a truly original approach to our music that is not specific to any single genre,” the keyboard player David Tichý says.

The single as well as the whole upcoming album were recorded in the Svárov studio owned by Lukáš Martínek. The mix was done by Stevens himself in the Rancid Mead Sorbet Studios in London, mas-tering was taken care of by Darius van Helfteren (De Staat and others) in the Dutch studio Amster-dam Mastering.

“It was David who came up with the harmony idea and gradually we each composed our part. The original idea was for an instrumental song, that’s why I came with something like a whispered mantra, however, the dynamics was gradually increasing. Generally, we tend to describe moments rather than stories in our lyrics. Mirrors captures that silent moment just before dawn when the moon and the sun change guards and people open themselves up all the way in what they say—mirror-like they reflect each other,” the author of the text, multi-instrumentalist and singer Kateřina Elznicová adds.

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Bingriwingri and Šero by Bratři Orffové (The Orff Brothers) released on vinylPlay

Bingriwingri and Šero by Bratři Orffové (The Orff Brothers) released on vinyl

Landmark albums of the Czech alternative music scene, Bingriwingri and Šero (Low Light) by Bratři Orffové (The Orff Brothers), have been remastered and were released on vinyl.

The original recordings have been carefully remastered by Matouš Godík (Floex, Hidden Orchestra)—former member of the band—and the original graphic design has been reworked by designer Jirka Libánský. The albums have been pressed on an audiophile 180-gram vinyl at Schallplattenfabrik Pallas in Germany.

Almost no other band resonates as much ten years after the release of their last album. And Bratři Orffové are not exactly generous with their live performances. Nonetheless, they are still gaining new fans and the story of Serža Vantóš is an interesting one for listeners across all generations.

“It would be very difficult to find a Czech band that could so naturally succeed in the international competition in their genre while being so relentless in their refusal to tour abroad. Bratři Orffové give the impression that even Prague is too big for them, and their aesthetics remains firmly rooted in their hometown of Krnov. Serža Vantóš, the hero of their songs, is a typical example of a small-town man: for one thing, he distrusts the world around him because he doesn’t understand it, and for another, he deals with life situations by putting them into a context that’s familiar to him,” wrote Dominik Zezula (post-hudba) in 2014 for the website Aktualne.cz.

The release of the group’s debut album Bingriwingri in 2005 was hailed as a significant event on the local alternative music scene, and this will be the first opportunity to enjoy the album on a classic black or amber 180-gram vinyl. It is not commonly known that several famous musicians from the Czechoslovak music scene collaborated on the album: Floex, Daniel Salontay (Longital), double bass player Petr Tichý, flutist and publicist Marian Jaslovský, guitarist Filip Míšek (Khoiba, Dikolson), and highly regarded pianist Jan Bartoš. Expres FM radio recently ranked Bingriwingri among the 50 best Czech albums.

Šero, the album released eight years after Bingriwingri, was no less groundbreaking. For the time being, it remains the final album by Bratři Orffové. It received both the Anděl Award and the Czech Critics’ Award Apollo for best album of 2013. Additionally, Bratři Orffové brought home the Anděl statuette for best band of the year. Šero was first released on vinyl in 2014 by the label Quazi Delict Records, but the current release is an excellent addition to the collection for owners of the first pressing. It is designed in classic black and smoky multicolour as a three-sided double LP on 180-gram vinyl for better sound quality. The core of Šero consists of lyrics by Ivan Gajdoš; the songs Sůl z Krnova (Salt from Krnov) and V záclonách (In Curtains) were written by Jakub König aka Kittchen and the text for Tunel (Tunnel) was by writer Jaroslav Rudiš.

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Zabelov Group dives into unchartered music waters on their new single DivePlay

Zabelov Group dives into unchartered music waters on their new single Dive

Three years after the release of the EP Madhouse Session, the Czech-Belarusian project Zabelov Group has come up with new material. As with the previous records, the new single Dive is released on the Czech label Minority Records. Mastering was provided by the respected Matouš Godík (Floex, Hidden Orchestra, and others).

“On Dive, we tried to find some sort of an organic meter-rhythmical shape that would have the potential to sound infinite,” accordionist Roman Zabelov says.

The track is shaped by the element of trance that comes from repetitive processes that evoke a dive into unchartered depths to the musicians. It was, therefore, only a small step to name the whole composition after this feeling.

“It was our fascination with patterns that came to the fore again. I mean fascination with simple repetitive patterns that are placed into the context of a different pattern. It gives rise to a feeling of evolution, or a story unfolding between the tones. You’d say that this is nothing new after the last couple of decades, but there’s always something to explore,” the trumpet player and drummer Jan Šikl adds.

Zabelov Group was formed in 2012 by the eternal music seekers Roman Zabelov (accordion, vocals, synthesizers) and Jan Šikl (drums, trumpet, guitar). Their work combines strong-grooved jazz with both acoustic and electronic music creating a distinctively atmospheric and even a cinematic whole. They released a home recording called 40 000 km followed by a live album Secret Session. Their regular debut was the album Eg (2018). In 2020, they released another live recording called Madhouse Session. They performed in Poland (Spring Break, Warsaw, Poznan), Germany, Netherland (ESNS), Italy, Slovenia (Ment Ljubljana) and even in the UK (Rich Mix London).

Jan Šikl is the author of music for the films Rekonstrukce okupace (Reconstruction of Occupation) and Jak jsem se stala partyzánkou (How I Became a Partisan). As an arranger, he collaborates with Floex Ensemble or Glorchestra. He composed music for Laterna Magika, 420People, Spitfire Company, Losers Company or JEDL. He is behind the music for many radio plays and audiobooks.

Roman Zabelov is finishing his PhD studies at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU), where he is focusing on the topic of acoustic and amplified accordion. He is a part of the project of Spitfire Company and Berg Orchestra called Tak tiše až.

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