Sunday, August 9, 2009


Is it wrong to buy an album solely because of the standard of the screen printing on the sleeve? Polish film posters have long been the thing of wet dreams for the designer types and the sleeve this Budka Suflera album seems to belong to a similar school. The contrast of the matt silver on the off white card is really strong even if the stock used to produce the sleeve is symptomatically thin.

Musically it's less than impressive for nearly the whole of side one then on the final track some swooping disco strings come out of nowhere and remind you that this horribly obtuse Polish carbon copy rock was recorded in 1976. I am just as opinionated going into side two which is something of a surprise. It's all over the place...

It begins by sounding like a primitive funk jam band either trying to get their shit together or deliberately forget everything they have learned. The off-beat and backwards timing and sound structure are actually quite endearing. Then after much stoppy and starty musical jiggery somebody fires up the Moog. It isn't as prominent as it might be but it's a welcome addition and again a reminder of the fact that there is a certain charm to middle Europe's unsuccessful emulation of Western music. Towards the end of side 2. Budka Suflera are intent on going 'epic' and the strings are back in no short order until fade out.

If I had the time and the resources this is no doubt an area I would like to explore further, as it is from my experience the success rate with exploring obscure (well obscure to me, this is quit possibly as common as Huey Lewis and the News' 'Sport' album in Poland) Eastern european music is pretty low.

I used to go on haircuts alone but ended up with a lot of truly hokey Greek folk music - turns out everyone in Greece had awesome hair between 72 and 78....who knew? Then I started to go by instrumentation, as in the instruments listed on the back. The rule was if an ARP, Moog or Synthesizer was listed on the back it could/should be good. Unfortunately this was not always the case and I became even more cack laden.

I have during my typing flipped the record back to the start of side one. The opener does actually have some strong 'prog' tendencies and could almost serve as the national anthem to some distant fictional country or planet. I imagine Ming the Merciless of Flash Gordon fame twirling his beard to it as all around him stand and salute.

Not bad stuff, if you see it at a car boot fair or in a charity shop give it a go. Anyway, it's hot outside and I really should be out there tasting the day, drinking in the sunshine and filling my lungs with something other than the accumulated dust of a lifetime of records.

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