Slová do tmy
Published by: Universal Music
Available at:most music retailers
SINGLES that consistently reach the top 10 charts, and sales of more than 40,000 copies of their four albums define No Name as one of Slovakia's supergroups.
What are they doing right? Pick up their latest album, Slová do tmy (Words to the Dark), or its special tour version with bonus tracks, and you will find the same kind of sentimental pop-rock that one expects to grace the tops of charts.
This album crafts music using strings, piano, a bit of watered-down funk, Police-esque chords, and some Aerosmith-style screams and big guitar - the result is inoffensive and easily accessible to young and old.
Can 40,000 people be wrong? It is fair to say that most of them understand the lyrics which, I have read in the Slovak press, do have something to say to the Czech and Slovak sensibilities. In this case, the album may become more than one-dimensional. For the rest, perhaps it will not. Statistically, however, you are much more likely to buy this album than the following:
Published by: Construct Destroy Collective (CDC)
Price: Sk250 and Sk400
Available at: www.drhorak.sk
THERE are only 50 copies in distribution of this debut CDC release. To make that number even smaller, there are two packaging editions - one in a DVD case and the other in an almost one-kilo iron disk that clamps the album in a bed of rubber. The latter sold out by the time we went to print.
Inside this severe exterior is the work of seven Slovak names in industrial, experimental, and noise music. As the album opens, one is drawn into a delicate sonic current, punctuated by the muffled echoes of machines, by the duo Poo. As it closes, the listener can admire the sound sculptures calmly built by Rbnx and his whining, clicking, noise engine.
In between, we hear a factory, a foreboding march, halting techno beats, and a walk to the local bar. The result is not the throbbing nausea of a drunken night but a subtle, uneasy tug in the gut that makes you want to listen again. In other words, this album did not make me sick to my stomach, though I'm not sure whether the artists will find that a compliment or a criticism.