October 1st 2018
Rakovnik’s Manon Meurt took its time on its new album. The songs came into being and matured at their own pace. After thorough preparation, Manon Meurt went into the studio to record in June, with Jan P. Muchow (The Ecstacy of Saint Theresa) as producer. When it comes to the Czech scene, Manon Meurt takes its greatest inspiration from the original lineup of The Ecstacy of Saint Theresa, especially the very old Fluidtrance Centauri EP. This is material from the legendary John Peel Session, so there is a certain symbolics here or, one might say, a completion of the circle, since Jan Muchow took worked on MMXVIII, that band's second album.
Kateřina Elznicová (guitar), Vojtěch Pejša (guitar), Simona Kuchárová (bass guitar), and Jiří Bendl (drums) got together six years ago during the Coombal festival near Rakovnik. Originally, Kateřina was supposed to perfom solo with her guitar but she wanted to have a band. A year later came the watershed moment, when the band played warm up for My Bloody Valentine at their Prague concert in Divadlo Archa on June 11, 2013 as they were putting together their nameless six-song debut. Finally released in 2014, it was a limited vinyl edition and included compositions such as To Forget and In These Eyes that have defined the band's creative signature. With Simona Kuchárová now replaced by David Tichý, Manon Meurt has given a number of concerts, gained new experience, and expanded its musical scope.
On the one hand, they remain an otherworldly collective closely bound to shoegaze, but they have also taken a fresh direction towards post-rock and noise. This stylistically describes We Are, part of the band’s existing repertoire, as well as Figure It Out and Neon, the latter being one of the runners-up for the first single. The opening song, Circle, testifies to Kateřina Elznicová's vocal maturity: her ethereal voice is an outstanding feature of the performance and she also penned very peronal lyrics for songs included in MMXVIII. Lighthouse is a pensive song whose piano sections will surprise you, and the last track, Song Of The Sea, is a dark lullaby bound to become a stable part of Manon Meurt’s playlist.
CD/LP [180 gram LP on transparent pink marble and black vinyl] can be pre-ordered in the online store now. All pre-orders will be shipped on October 12th.
Four years have come and gone since Secret Session by Zabelov Group was released. In the interim, Zabelov Group has been gathering material and striving to put together a conceptually focused album. It will finally be released October 5 with the title Eg on Minority Records in LP, CD, and digital download formats.
Eg is the fruit of two years of labour. Recording took place at several locations, with the renowned Svarov Studio serving as the centre of gravity. A number of audio sources recorded outside the studio also made it into the mix, including a church organ. Recording was overseen by audio engineers Lukáš Martínek and Matouš Godík (Hidden Orchestra, Floex), who did the final mastering. "Several tendencies have been emerging in our work. The discovery of sound options provided by modulated accordion has led us to ambient music on the one hand and strict grooves on the other. We're interested in both abstract compositions and in combining music with narrative and out-of-studio recordings. We've been discovering the options we have as musicians but also enjoying what studio postproduction has to offer. I don't know whether we’ll have the will to create such a synthesis in future recordings but hopefully we've managed to interconnect all these levels in Eg", Jan Šikl says about the origin of the album.
Zabelov Group's musical endeavour is permeated by the effort to maintain live contact with the instrument but provide the entire spectrum of club sound while performing as a duo. Their original acoustic puritanism thus gradually transformed into complex cinematic music accompanied by samples and acoustic instruments enhanced by electronics.
CD/LP [180 gram LP on black vinyl] can be pre-ordered in the online store now. All pre-orders will be shipped on October 5th.
April 27th 2018
Once again, Amanita Design has, for their next collaboration, invited the duo DVA, who previously worked on the soundtrack for the Botanicula game. Their entertaining game entitled Chuchel was released in the Spring as a follow up to their successful (third) sequel, Samorost. This is a comedy-tuned game packed with situational humour, tasks and jigsaw puzzles, featuring Chuchel as the main character and Kekel as his rival. The soundtrack could not be written by non-other than the DVA duo. They let their imagination run wild and created the crazy Cherries On Air (Chuchel Soundtrack). The soundtrack will be finally released for wider distribution on April 27th (digital download and streaming services), and physically on red 12” vinyl on May 31st.
Bára Ungerová and Jan Kratochvíl take full advantage of their musical creativity, including their own language (in this case, perhaps the closest to English). They have packed the set of twenty-three tracks with a handful of preludes and interludes that are interwoven with regular melodies with near poplike contours. Their own humour is also present (reflected in the titles of the tracks), while also present is playfulness, attention to detail, and the childlike excitement of the world of Chuchel and Kekel. Cherries On Air is fast-paced and spirals forward, just like the action sequences of the game itself. Also present are sampled bustle effects and pre-recorded loops of distorted human voices, almost as if Bára and Jan intended to transform all the virtual dialogues of the characters from the game itself. The variety begins with the splendid Buena Vista Chuchel Club, and the captivating Chuchel Walk With Me leads to a dreamlike alternative world of the secretive maze of puzzles. On the other hand, the Young Chuchels is interwoven with rap and “Labyrinth presents itself as an unexpected ambient final touch. The Botanicula Soundtrack is, therefore, a less madcap vanguard than Cherries On Air (Chuchel Soundtrack) although it can be assumed that this was the intention of the duo from the beginning.
Project DVA have been active since 2006. They combine many genres in their music, including cabaret, circus numbers, beatbox, freak folk, acoustic and electronic music - according to the duo, it is a variation of pop without specific borders and boundaries with its own (fictional) language. An important item in their discography is the previously mentioned soundtrack for the Botanicula game. "DVA have successfully managed to get their microcosmos on Botanicula to the next level. The experience has been strengthened by them once again revisiting their childhood, their frolics with individual melodic elements while the vocal inserts work and click into each other like the most beautiful kaleidoscope,” emphasizes Dan Hájek at the end of his review on musicserver.cz; everything that was said also applies to their new musical adventure on Cherries On Air (Chuchel Soundtrack).
LP [180 gram LP on transparent red vinyl] can be pre-ordered in the online store now. All pre-orders will be shipped on May 31st.