Unloved World

vzor
  • 1. Skirtchaser (1:20)

  • 2. Mujeha (5:26)

  • 3. Tgooseberry (11:04)

  • 4. Jazz 1960 (2:47)

  • 5. Draining This Pond (5:22)

  • 6. Halfway (4:31)

  • 7. Unloved World (2:43)

  • 8. Traditional Cat (7:12)

  • 9. Delicatessen (0:23)

Original czech text translated by Google Translate

1990 was a very hectic year for Už zme doma. In the spring, we recorded our first record Utsře sloví for the Globus publishing house, which was newly founded by „Kocour“ after returning from exile. Since we had already been in contact with Miroslav Velfl from the Panton publishing house a year before (he released the EP „Rock Debut“ No. 6), we agreed with him that we would record a second record for Panton with the rest of the songs that did not make it to Udřet slov. Because we weren’t allowed to record and publish before the revolution, we accumulated something like 20 songs in five years. We put nine of them on In the middle of words, so we had enough material for the second album. It was a time of great hunger for recordings, releasing two records in a year was no problem (in the end, however, the second record was released two years later).

There wasn’t much time to prepare, but we didn’t do anything else, so we wrote all the scores and parts by hand, sat in the rehearsal room from morning to night and practiced and practiced. We also came up with richer arrangements and started looking for guests. Since the producer of the Rock debut was Ladislav Kantor from the group C&K Vocal (which was a consequence of Wanek’s studies at the Prague Conservatory, where Kantor taught), we approached Jiří Cerha from the same band if he would take on the role of music director. After the experience of the first recording in Řevnice, where we had no supervision, we self-critically recognized that we needed someone with extensive experience in recording – the guidance of a professional.

On the Rock debut and in the middle of words we used a pre-made metronome. It was quite difficult to determine the necessary tempos and their changes. But it had to be done somehow, and so there were sometimes problems during filming when the pace was too fast or, on the contrary, unusually and inadequately slow. But then nothing could be done about it. Metronome lines (including all tempo changes – sometimes even ritardandos) were programmed into the sequencer. At that time, there were no computers and sequencers were not a common thing, and we had to turn to someone who had such a device and knew how to handle it. He then handed us an audio recording with a metronome tapping.

Mirek Velfl arranged a studio in Ostrava. It was Radim Pařízek’s Citron S studio in Plesná. We arrived there in full formation and spent about 3 weeks there with a small break near Šternberk, where our then manager František Wanke invited us to the cottage.

Radim Pařízek and I saw each other shortly after our arrival, Tanja also lived here and we had a funny incident with her – at that time a music magazine was published with Tanja on the front page. She had a studded jacket, chains, hair tied up and looked very aggressive. Above her was the inscription „I sing as I live“. Our first meeting with her was in the kitchen, where she was sitting on some kind of trellis, wearing sweatpants pulled up, her hair slicked back in a ponytail or bun, and holding a plastic bucket between her knees in which she was peeling potatoes. I think it was Pavel Keřka who saw her first and remarked: „Go look next door, Tanja is sitting there and rock’n’roll is flying over her head. He sings as he lives.” We could have burst out laughing.

Aleš Kovalský was sitting behind the counter in the studio. We didn’t know him before. He was really nice, he was very accommodating and didn’t hang around, but he was a choler and a troublemaker and we had a lot of fun with him. He had messy curly hair and a pointy beard, so we called him nothing but Blackbeard. And he behaved like that. But the ruler in the studio was Jirka Cerha, he had to have holy patience with us.

It started with the drums. Pavel Pavlíček got the programmed metronome in his ears and had to play the whole piece without a mistake just by tapping – no auxiliary music, nothing. It must have been hell. Then Keřka went with the bass. There it was already possible (albeit minimally) to cut and record it after certain blocks, but basically it was like Pavlíček. Then Wanek on the accompanying guitar and live piano, Romek recorded the solo guitars and the wind players – Jindra and Alice – went last. They already had it a little easier, they could play more or less to the music and there were pauses between phrases, so editing was easy. But the solos had to be recorded in their entirety and without mistakes anyway, so it was repeated many times. Jirka Cerha mainly looked after tuning, which was mainly a problem with saxophones. There were many moments when we all thought it was OK, but Jirka uncompromisingly shook his head and said: „Again“.

It was the turn of the guests. We had a lot of ideas. We had a clear idea at that time that the studio record does not have to copy the concert version and that if the song calls for it, it is possible to experiment in any way and use the possibilities of studio recording.

In the composition Tangrešt, we wanted a niner. The text was about history, so at one point it was offered to „fall into“ the Middle Ages. Jirka offered us the group Calata, which played medieval music on medieval instruments. We didn’t know how to write it for them at all, so when they came, we just played it and said, „Play whatever you want, at that point your music will be there on its own, without the UJD, you just have to get back from that theme of yours to the following theme, which the band is already playing, even a moment before the band joins in.“ They rehearsed for about half an hour and then played it for us. It was excellent and they recorded it right away. They weren’t used to a metronome, but they did great. Once they were there, we then used some of them in other songs, where the parts had already been written.

In the song Výlov rybníka, there is a piano motif somewhere in the middle, where the so-called dotted rhythm is played in the chords, i.e. in 4/4 time, one quarter note with a dot, then another quarter note with a dot, and finally only a quarter note. It is counted one two three one two three one two. It was nothing complicated, but Wanek never played the piano very much and so it would take a long time to learn it – not the chords themselves and the decays that always sounded between the rhythmic part of the motif. But for a trained pianist, the matter is completely trivial. At that time, we quite often played with the group Pro pošit iztoty, where the virtuoso and composer Martin Dohnal (an excellent HaDivadla actor, by the way) played the piano. So we invited Martin to record these few measures for us. It was, of course, a luxury that would not be possible today, but Panton was very generous and the funds seemed to be „inexhaustible“. So Martin came from Brno, took the sheet music, tried it a few times and we started recording. However, he was playing it completely off the beat, so we stopped it and tried again. He kept playing something else instead of 123 123 12, something like 1234 12 12. We tried about 20 more times, but it didn’t work, it took two to three long hours, but Martin finally got up from the piano and said self-critically: „That’s beyond my understanding, I can’t hear the difference between what you tell me to play and what I play, but of course I feel that I’m out, I don’t know what to do, I’m sorry, I’m going home.“ And he drove. It was a great surprise for us, who have ever seen him play with the band For a feeling of certainty, saw his really absolutely virtuoso performance and incredibly complex compositions brilliantly played. It was a strange experience. Since Martin was (and I hope still is) a close friend of ours, even an unpleasant one.

A replacement had to be found. Čaryfuk suggested Boris Urbanek, who at the time played for Rottrová. He called him, Urbanek arrived in a few hours, looked at the sheet music and said, why on earth don’t you record it yourself? We asked if he wanted to practice it first, but he just said with a smile: „Let it go.“ Čaryfuk started the tape recorder and Boris recorded it right away – absolutely exactly, with precise expression and dynamics. He took the money and left. The whole thing took 6 minutes including arrival, communication, recording and departure. He was a jazzman, he could dot the left back.

Then the chants started. It went quite well, but it turned again and again, as Jirka watched over us in tuning (mainly), pronunciation and rhythm. In the end it somehow worked out and the rest of his band (C&K Vocal) arrived for Cerha and they sang for us. They also had some repetitions, but by several tens less than us.

After about two weeks of really intense filming, we were done and took a few days off. But we didn’t go home, just to relax a little at a cottage near Olomouc and clear our heads. When we met again in the studio, it started to mix. Everything by hand, so for example with the song Tangrešt we all had to help at the desk, we had practiced it as if we were playing the piano – at a certain moment he moved the slider on the desk one step higher, then again turned the panorama knob more to the left, then the next in a moment he returned to the place, because the first one already had to guard another saber, etc., etc. We always tried it until it worked once and it was on to the next one. In the song Delikatesa, there was accidentally a crosstalk left in there from some alto sax track when Alice probably got it wrong and laughed at it. It went right into that musical break and was very immediate, so we left it there. And we also implanted a secret greeting to our friend Jarmil Chromé there.

Finally everything was done. We sat religiously in the studio and listened to the result over and over again, now in its entirety and arranged for itself. It was such a difference from the first record. Everything sounded balanced, it was in tune, it was rich and bushy, we couldn’t get enough of it. We slept in that studio the whole time, and after we went to sleep this last night, several times, for example, Pavel Keřka disappeared from the room and went down to the studio to listen to it again, often someone else joined him, because he also couldn’t fall asleep. It was all really very shared – we spent 3 weeks there, the whole band incl. manager, we still talked about every detail, every evening after recording we went to the pub and discussed everything there again, and the result was like a miracle for us, as if we experienced a collective birth.

The album was released on vinyl and for the first time on CD in 1991 and subsequently saw several other releases.

The Memphis company called from Germany and offered us a CD release (released in 1993) for the European market if we sing it in English. Already when we made the mixer in 1990, we prudently (probably on the advice of the experienced Cerha) also mixed the music with the lyrics turned off. So we used this mixer a year later, invited C&K Vocal again and sang everything in English. The translation was undertaken by Zdenek Pecka, who at the time worked at the American embassy. He translated it excellently and „singably“. But one humorous situation is connected to his translation. When he submitted his translations to us, the song Mu je ha was translated as He Feels Fine. The syllables MU JE HA were just phonetic puns and we never even thought it might have any meaning. But as you can see, the creativity of the translator Pecka coped with such a problem, and with his great feeling for the language, Zdenek discovered meaning even where it was not there.

This English version was then released once more in the USA (Škoda Records, 1996), but there we already decided to put both versions – Czech and English – on one CD.

So overall, Unloved World came out like this:

More info about this album on Discogs.