The Czechoslovak New Wave was an artistic movement in cinema which evolved out of the earlier Devětsil movement of the 30’s. Disgruntled with the communist regime that had taken over Czechoslovakia in 1948 coup d’état (!), students of the Film and TV School of The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (also known as FAMU) became the dissenters of their time. Their statement at making films:
‘Make the Czech people collectively aware that they were participants in a system of oppression and incompetence which had brutalized and bureaucratized them all.’
This was partly because of a cultural and political reform that the country had undergone since 1962. During this time the filmmakers of the Czech new wave enjoyed a state supported film industry, an interest in both domestic/international market (special interest in the USA) and relative artistic freedom.
Trademarks of the movement are long unscripted dialogues, dark and absurd humor, and the casting of non-professional actors. The films touched on themes which for earlier film makers in the communist countries had barely managed to avoid the objections of the censor: playful observation, visual poetry, biting sarcasm, gentle humanism, mocking absurdism, tender eroticism and formal experimentalism.
The Czechoslovak New Wave differed from the French New Wave in that it usually held stronger narratives, and as these directors were the children of a nationalized film industry, they had greater access to studios and state funding.
As Alexander Dubček came to power over the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia with plans to present ‘socialism with a human face’ through reform and liberalization (Prague Spring), the Soviet Union and their Warsaw Pact allies invaded to snuff out reform. The movement came to an abrupt end and Miloš Forman and Jan Němec fled the country; those who remained faced censorship of their work.
Notable directors: Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, Ivan Passer, Jaroslav Papoušek, Jiří Menzel, Jan Němec, Jaromil Jireš, Vojtěch Jasný, Evald Schorm and Slovak directors Dušan Hanák, Juraj Herz, Juraj Jakubisko, Štefan Uher amid others.
Let’s go to our artist:
One of the most popular Czech Rock bands with links to almost every known prog/jazz from the country, (the) Blue Effect from Prague were formed in 1968 by guitarist Radim Hladík and singer Vladimír Mišík, both from The Matadors.
The line-up included also bassist Jiří Kozel, drummer Vlado Čech and guitarist Miloš Svoboda, who quit the next year. In 1970 they released their psych/blues influenced debut ‘Meditace’ on Supraphon along with the jazz rock album ‘Coniunctio’ in collaboration with legendary ensemble Jazz Q.
At this time Mišík left to join Flamengo, he was replaced by singer/keyboardist Lešek Semelka. Renamed to Modrý Efekt they released their second work ‘Nova Syntezá’ in 1971 on Panton with the outstanding help of the Czechoslovakian Jazz Orchestra. The album shows the band taking a more artistic approach on their music, leaving the psych influences of their debut for a much more jazz-oriented sound.
The 70’s were their most active period, with at least nine studio albums, progressing to fusion/prog tinges, being its last release in 1981. Since 2010 the band was reactivated by Radim Hladík (only original member) and has a very active career.
Let’s go to our album:
An incredible Brass Orchestra with a sharp rock group coming from the Eastern side of Europe. The compositions are long and as the album unfolds, Hladík shows an incredible jazzy background on his guitar solos. The Czechoslovakian Jazz Orchestra seems often the leading force of the album: tons of melodic introductions, interventions and counterpoints performed by a great mass of brass musicians!
The ‘IM’ highlights are: Směr Jihovýchod and Blues Modrého Efektu.
A1 Má Hra – My Game (Radim Hladík)
A2 Směr Jihovýchod – Southeast Bound (Lešek Semelka)
A3 Popínavý Břečťan – Clinging Ivy (Radim Hladík)
B1 Blues Modrého Efektu – Blue Effect Blues (Kamil Hála, Vlastimil Hála)
B2 Nová Syntéza – New Synthesis (Kamil Hála, Vlastimil Hála)
- Bass Guitar: Jiří Kozel
- Drums (Uncredited): Vlado Čech
- Guitar: Radim Hladík
- Orchestra, Performer: Jazzový Orchestr Československého Rozhlasu
- Performer (Skupina): Modrý Efekt
- Piano: Lešek Semelka
- Trombone: Ladislav Pikart, Miroslav Koželuh
- Trumpet: Václav Týfa
Conductor, Arranged: Kamil Hála
Artwork: Jaroslav Fišer
Photography: Alexandr Janovský
Engineer (Zvuková Režie): Milan Papírník
Recording Supervisor (Hudební Režie): Vlastimil Hála
Producer: Dr. Oskar Jelínek
Panton – 11 0288