Category Archives: Europe

Plastic People of the Universe

An Amazing Story: The Plastic People of the Universe and Why All Musicians Should Know Them

Text by Joe Yanosik

The Plastic People of the Universe

Copyright of image: The Plastic People of the Universe

The Plastic who of the what?  Never heard of them and I’ve been playing music for decades, you might say.  Well, it’s not your fault.  Even on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean where they’re from, the Plastic People (actually from Czechoslovakia, not the Universe) remained obscure.  In America, fans of alternative music may simply know them as a cult band who made weird, experimental music.  In fact, the Plastic People of the Universe were one of the greatest rock groups to emerge from Central Europe during the Communist era and their incredible history should be known far and wide by everyone who plays music for a living.  

Formed in Czechoslovakia in 1968 shortly after the Warsaw Pact Invasion in which Soviet tanks and troops crushed the liberal period known as the Prague Spring, the Plastic People of the Universe endured two decades of persecution from the Communist regime simply because they refused to conform to the Soviet “normalization”.  Since the era of Stalin, the Communists knew the importance of controlling the art in a society and they used art as propaganda to promote their own fake reality.  They were fully aware of the power of music and art and couldn’t let it be created freely for fear that the truth would escape.  

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Is Rock Dead? 6 Acts That Could Save Rock?

Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi

Miles Davis declared Jazz is dead (it’s) the music of a museum. Frank Zappa said Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny. How about rock music?

The Guardian (UK) said in January: “It is a claim made before by, among others, Lenny Kravitz and the Swedish garage band the Hellacopters. But today, after years of struggle, came evidence to support the fearsome claim: rock’n’roll is dead.” Read more.

Anyway I don’t care whether certain music styles are dead. On the contrary, I only care about bands which play emotional and passionate music. I mean, music that really feels alive and speaks to me.

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PandA System – Dub Techno Sessions With Live Electric Cello!

Text by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi

photo courtesy of PandA System

Two weeks ago when I interviewed the German percussionist and electronica performer Sven Kacirek in a Turkish restaurant in the West Village, he wanted to recommend musicians from Hamburg, Germany who might be interesting for me  to cover. So a couple of days ago he surprised me with an interesting project from his hometown, PandA System with cellist Andreas Otto and DJ Prashant from Bangalore, India.

DJ Prashant uses recordings of Indian instruments to create beats with two turntables. And Andi Otto plays short, minmal melodies and rhythm patterrns, over the top with an electronic cello he calls a Fello. – his own unique performance instrument combining a cello with his ” magic” bow and a computer.

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